James Lasdun’s story is the basis for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Besieged. But, whereas James Lasdun’s Marietta, a refugee from an undisclosed country, is more Marxist than musical, Bertolucci’s Marietta, played by Thandie Newton, is African, and her music squares off against Mr. Kinsky’s. The film’s sound track stands in much of the time for its characters’ consciousness, with the eccentric Mr. Kinsky, played by David Thewlis, enraptured by, among other composers of the Western canon, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart. The woman he loves is revealed through African music by such notables as S. Mutela, J.C. Ojwang, and Papa Wembe. Shot on location in Rome and Nairobi, Besieged was released in 1998.
You can read “The Siege” in the print edition of Zoetrope: All-Story Volume 5 No. 3