Jane Campion's Bright Star
Posted 10 September 2009 - 06:42 PM
Cool website here.
Posted 16 September 2009 - 06:27 AM
Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:19 AM
The last time I saw Ben Whishaw he played Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited and he was not good, but I'm willing to give him another try. I remember Abbie Cornish as the blond ingenue in Elizabeth: the Golden Age and it was hard to get her measure in that role, although she was lovely to look at.
Posted 16 September 2009 - 10:56 AM
I have an active dislike for 'The Piano', absolutely loathe the original music. Thanks for warning about 'Portrait of a Lady', I had intended to finally catch up with it. I'm trying to think if I can think of any Henry James adaptations I like, other the both the Kerr and Bergman 'Turn of the Screw', don't like 'The Bostonians', because of casting all wrong, I thought.
Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:37 PM
Posted 16 September 2009 - 01:37 PM
'The Heiress' with de Havilland, Clift, and Richardson is a very good movie, not quite what James had in mind but I like it for itself. (Although personally I would have let Monty in -- after all, it's only money and what else was Olivia planning to do with it? But never mind.)
I admit that when I first heard about 'Bright Star' it sounded like Love Story meets Masterpiece Theater ("What can you say about a wonderful young poet who died?" ) I'm hoping for better, though.
Campion did show a good eye for period detail in The Piano. I remember in particular the way Holly Hunter's hair is greased down and severely parted, exactly the way you see the women's hair in those old daguerrotypes of the period and the way you usually don't see it in movies.
What in particular did you dislike about the original score, Patrick? And does anyone else have some observations on Campion that might be helpful to Ray?
Posted 16 September 2009 - 04:44 PM
Alas, the talks are last week's news. Now just waiting for the check
Posted 28 September 2009 - 05:21 PM
JC: That’s is a good question, because I invented quite a lot of stuff, but I did confine myself to the real order. And I didn’t invent crazy things for the hell of it. Probably the furthest I went was the butterfly farm. I don’t think there’s any record of the butterfly farm. [Laughs.] Although I think I took my lead from [Keats] saying, “I wish we were butterflies at three days,” and then imagining that this is summer, and she might be thinking about it or whatever. So really, I’ve been inspired by the letters, by the story, and I used as my parameters the timeline, and then I kind of made my own ballad of Fanny and Keats.
[i]AVC: It seemed like there’s a particular amount of leeway in terms of the way Fanny is defined. Is that fair to say?
JC: It’d have to be both of them, really. As soon as you embody a person, it’s not the real person, even if it was a biopic. No matter how strict you’re trying to be, it’s just going to be invented. And I didn’t really have any problem with that. When I read the story, I started seeing images in my head of who they might be, of what they might seem like or look like. And I guess, for me, this is just one way of approaching the topic of Keats and his poetry. I think there’s hundreds of them. This seemed to me the broadest and most available. For me, it worked, when I read it in a biography. And then from there, I started reading his letters, the whole collection of them, and then I started to read his poetry. Then you can circulate back to the biography again, and so it goes on.
Posted 14 December 2009 - 06:19 PM
Wilson, a biographer of literary figures from the time (more or less) of Keats, comments about the real woman, as seen by some of Keats's 19th-century admirers and as reimagined by Campion.
The Minx not only inspired the most perfect love letters in the language ... but now Bright Star, written and dircted by Campion, Fanny's new champion, makes those love letters look like utility bills. As nothing is known about Brawne outside Keat's obsession with her Fanny's own letters have not survived), Campion has had to invent her heroine, and she sees her as prickly, poised and quietly dazzling. It is now Fanny, flawlessly played by Abby Cornish, who is obsessed, and the story of her two-year affair with Keats is less about poems than about sewing, and waiting. "Almost all women sewed," Campion has said in an interview; "they sewed and they waited."
Like Jane Campion's earlier films. .... Bright Star is a costume drama, but in this instance there is more costume than drama. In many ways Bright Star is a film about clothes, about what you wear while you sew and wait. Fanny is not just a seamstress but a fashion designer whose outre creations, from the "triple-pleated mushroom collar" with which she accessorizes her ball gown, to her witty take on a winter bonnet, would not look out of place on the Vivienne Westwood runway.
Posted 14 December 2009 - 07:56 PM
But Christopher Ricks in the New York Review ("Undermining Keats") says something like -- Andre Bazin would have said the same thing in a shorter space -- you can't illustrate words with images. In this case, with Keats's words, you will simply destroy them. Bazin or Rudolf Arnheim would go farther and say that words and sounds should always counterpoint the pictures. There is probably an analogous law governing good choreography.
OT: There is a new history and prehistory of the Cahiers du Cinema, which Bazin founded in 1951, written by Emilie Bickerton -- I just picked up a copy and it reads very quickly. Cahiers, according to Peter Wollen, was "the last of a series of twentieth-century critical revolutions in the name of 'modernism'." It was a group of "stubborn orphans and adopted families," including Godard and Truffaut, Rohmer and Rivette, who were quite different in outlook (Rohmer was a socially radical Catholic, along with Bazin). The Cahiers rehabilitated the reputations of Jean Vigo and Robert Flaherty, and published mug shots of the others, especially the practitioners of the heavy cream Cinema of Quality. Also by the early sixties:
I thought that was an interesting footnote to our previous Ripley films discussion.
Posted 14 December 2009 - 08:03 PM
Posted 07 September 2010 - 10:31 AM
That's a bit much, I'd say. You can never find images that will equal the verses but you can create vivid images all the same and use them to help tell a moving story. Inevitably this makes for a certain reductiveness and at times Campion veers toward the amusingly obvious - Keats recites a line about laying his head on his lady's bosom and guess what happens next - but I enjoyed hearing the lines recited with the conviction that Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw give them, and although these are some of the most famous lines in English lit Whishaw persuades you that they are new minted and still works in progress. Nice movie.
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