Sag Harbor Cinema (SHC) and Canio’s Books are hosting a special virtual viewing of the film adaptation of Susan Merrell’s acclaimed novel Shirley that will debut on Friday, June 5. In addition to the digital screening, the novelist and Sag Harbor resident will chat about Shirley with Sag Harbor Cinema Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan on Sunday, June 7 at 6 p.m.
Shirley, a captivating psychological thriller, follows a fictional young couple (Odessa Young and Logan Lerman) that move in with novelist Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) – who is best known for her short story The Lottery – and her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman (Logan Lerman), a literary critic and professor at Bennington College, with hopes of starting over.
“Shirley Jackson was a wildly unorthodox human and storyteller. Encountering her work was like finding a map towards becoming the kind of artist I would like to be. Daring. Intimate. Structured yet dreamlike,” said Josephine Decker, who directed the film – which was executive produced by Martin Scorsese. “Shirley’s work rides on the skin between imagined and real, seducing with its oddness and humble cracks until you can’t tell if you’re looking up the stairwell or into your own mouth. I felt strongly that this film needed to feel like a Shirley Jackson story.”
Moss has been lauded for her role – with Entertainment Weekly noting the actress “veers from grumpy to
menacing to touching, turning in what may be her best — and is surely her wittiest — film performance to date.”
Shirley premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it took home a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize in Auteur Filmmaking.
Merrell first came across Jackson’s writing during graduate school at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, where Jackson herself resided for nearly 20 years. Jackson, who penned six novels, two memoirs, and 200 stories, is widely regarded as one of the best horror novels ever written.
Shirley will be available to screen through SHC’s website www.sagharborcinema.org, while the conversation with Susan Merrell and Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan will be broadcast on the Cinema’s Facebook page, and the novel is available at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor via bookshop.org/shop/caniosbooks.