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Love and FriendshipAt first sight Love and Friendship seems simple: a late eighteenth-century costume drama set in English country houses and London, from an unpublished novel by Jane Austen, ‘Lady Susan’. So, obviously a British film for the country house/period market. Second sight reveals something much more complicated. The production was financed by Arte (France), the Irish Film Board and the Netherlands Film Fund. No sign of British funding. Nor was it filmed in England, a.k.a. Austenland, but in Ireland, namely the Newbridge Estate in County Dublin and in Dublin itself. The actors and actresses it is true are British, except for the American Chloë Sevigny, but then she plays an American so that’s alright (but no Americans in the Austen novel, by the way). Nor is it directed by a British director, sensitive to all the class stuff going on and to what is unsaid and misinterpreted, but by Whit Stillman, an American, who seems perfectly attuned to all that British stuff. So, at third sight, the film returns to being utterly simple – clever and witty, in which production values do not overwhelm the film and allow it to strip away all the extras and focus on the narrative. It is Austen territory, but also the terroir of that remarkable late-18th-century sensibility of the modern era, Eric Rohmer. What is more it is aimed at a sophisticated global market and will surely do well there.