VanityFair.jpgThe pairing of Indian director Mira Nair with up in coming American starlet Reese Witherspoon for an adaptation of a 19th century novel sounds like a bizarre cinematic combination. However, the strength of the contributors and material in Vanity Fair has Gothamist intrigued.

Witherspoon plays Becky Sharp, a young woman of good education who has the distinct misfortune of being born without high rank. But she's not about to let that stop her from living a life of leisure and intrigue. William Makepeace Thackeray wrote the character as a cautionary figure to other young women trying to reach out of their station in 19th century England, but Becky's verve and spunk makes her so likeable, you can't help but root for her despite her conniving. The film also stars James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Romola Garai, Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Byrne and Jim Broadbent.

AMMI in Queens is doing a Mira Nair retrospective this weekend with screenings of some of her earlier works, India Cabaret and Salaam Bombay! on Saturday and then Mississippi Masala (mmm, young Denzel) and The Perez Family on Sunday. The films play at 2 pm and 4 pm, respectively. Strange, that they left Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love off this retrospective. Guess you'll have to rent this steamy, low point in Nair's career on your own time.

If you can't wait until the September 1 theatrical release of Vanity Fair, Focus Features has a preview screening on Tuesday of next week at the Loews Kips Bay at 7 pm. Passes can be dowloaded through the Sutter Homes website, the wine company is sponsoring a contest with the distribution company to promote the film.