Wednesday, April 14, 2010

forgive me, jane campion


Last fall, upon arriving home from one of his traveling escapades, WT ask me if I wanted to go see the new Jane Campion movie, Bright Star, the story of the Romantic poet, John Keats, and his love for Frances "Fanny" Brawne.  He knows what a huge fan I am of Campion.  My reply was, "eh".  After a seemingly long string of mediocre Austenish period films, I wasn't in the mood. 

Well, I finally watched the DVD, and am quite ashamed of myself for thinking the stellar Ms. Campion could ever be mediocre. Yes, it is a gorgeous, lush, period film.  But, Campion's work (she wrote the screenplay, as well as directed) has a certain edgy, artistic bite, which sets it apart from the others. This one is certainly no exception. Add this movie to your queue right now. You'll thank me.

The following is a sonnet by Keats, inspired by his love for Brawne.


Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.



The background music in the above video is from a wonderful scene in the film of an orchestra of male voices singing Mozart's Serenade No. 10, in B-flat major, K.  Heaven. Absolute heaven.

(one little bit of interesting Campionia:  Kerry Fox, the redheaded wild girl of Campion's An Angel at My Table nearly two decades ago, portrays Brawne's mother in this film)

67 comments:

  1. Thanks Willow...this looks like my kind of movie! Will be putting it on my list of movies to see.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I adored this movie. I saw it on the big screen, and I wish that you had as well. I found it glorious, particularly Abby Cornish (the guy who played Keats sort of gave me the willies). The fabrics, the lushness of it, the poetry -- I mean what could be wrong with two hours of that?

    ReplyDelete
  3. A little off the subject, but those bluebells in the photo made me GASP. What an amazing sight.

    Bisou, Cro.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I will add it to my Netflix list. Keats made me fall in love with poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cro, I chose the pic of Abby Cornish in the bluebells, since ours are blooming at the manor right now. They are quite breathtaking, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'll go to Netflix tonight and add it. I've gotten really behind on my movies lately with my son's wedding coming up, my mother's illness, etc. I seem to be so busy this year since I retired!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I watched this one not long ago and loved it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Didn't know it was already out. I have so wanted to see it - now I can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loved this film. Saw it awhile back, awash in tears and poetry singing through my mind. I loved the scenes with their hands on opposite sides of the walls.

    And the poetry. The awesome amazing poetry!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Willow,

    Yes, I agree the film was stunning, as is the sight of Fannie amidst the field of bluebells.

    Marjorie

    P.S. I hope you have the chance to visit your Uncle in Bradenton.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love your pictures and your comments on my blog.

    Agneta

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Willow, Thank you so much for this recommendation as I had really set myself against seeing this film. I think possibly my prejudice is based on a surfeit of period dramas which do not, in my view, appear to be going anywhere. Lovely people, beautiful moody shots, but what else?

    I shall rethink the Keats.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm looking forward to seeing Bright Star too. I missed it at the movies and must now wait till it arrives on DVD. Jane Campin is a superb director. The Piano lives on in my mind and will do so forever.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Willow, you are a lady after my own heart. I have waxed lyrical about the film Bright Star a couple of times on my blog and posted this sonnet as part of my Monday poem posts. We watched it on DVD over Easter for the second time (the first was in the cinema) and I enjoyed it even more! I have fallen in love with Keats' poetry all over again since seeing this film. Have you read Andrew Motion's bio of Keats - it's superb?

    Jeanne

    ReplyDelete
  15. I so want to see this - would you recommend buying it? Is it something you could watch again and again.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I meant to see this when it was playing at our local art house - but missed it and am so sorry that I did. I'll have to rent it or watch it "on demand." I don't have a "queue", and plan to write an anti-queue blog post today!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I found that quite haunting. Thanks for posting it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I loved this film! Besides reviving my lifelong love for poor Keats and those true poets who lived poetry, it was a visual delight.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What a gorgeous post, willow. The Keats, Mozart and that photo, almost surreally beautiful. I have downloaded the photo and put it on my computer screen so I can work today surrounded by blue bells and Keats.

    Enjoy your swooning.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks willow; like you, I din't fancy it at the time but you're the second recommendation I've had so now I really must make the effort. What a fabulous still - enough to make you want to see the film on is own!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks willow; like you, I din't fancy it at the time but you're the second recommendation I've had so now I really must make the effort. What a fabulous still - enough to make you want to see the film on its own!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Truly a feast.
    And... An Angel at My Table, get out the hankies! In a good way. -J

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's probably my favourite poem - together with the image with the bluebells, visiting you this morning was a wonderful Romantics moment!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That image alone is worth a thousand words!

    Thank you for one more movie to look forward to.
    "An Angel at my Table" is a favorite of mine too (as are Janet Frame's autobiographic books).

    ReplyDelete
  25. willow thankyou for the movie review and recommendation. i'm slowly acquiring films that have resonated through the decades of my own life and anything new to me is welcome. steven

    ReplyDelete
  26. thanks. believe it or not my queue is nearly empty and i was even thinking of canceling my netflix subscription

    ReplyDelete
  27. Agree Willow. Lovely period piece. Stay to the very end and listen to Keats being read under the credits. Quite special.

    ReplyDelete
  28. FF, yes I'm going to buy myself a copy. Call me nutty, but I do have my favorites I watch often.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's been a while since Linda and I have been to the movies, or even rented one. Either we're just not in the mood or Hollywood has lost its touch.

    Maybe this will revive our flagging interest.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello Willow,

    Fab first pic! Glorious sonnet too. Glad you enjoyed the film.

    ReplyDelete
  31. looks quite good...and Mozart is my favorite...i wonder if this is in the Red Box?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Funny, I'm about to watch Bright Star because it hit so many critics' top 10 lists.

    ReplyDelete
  33. so glad that you recommended this movie.
    I have it on my list.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The Romantic poetry of Keats; so unequivocably perfect so slowly appreciated this sensual feast of feelings. So it does seem to delude our modernist senses. A treat most sublime like a Viennese confection; Mozart was a classical composer; hummmm. Wouldnt Beethoven be more befitting of the Romantic stylings of Keats? I love Mozart dont get me wrong, I thought a more emotive song would be more fitting for the matching periods.

    ReplyDelete
  35. What heaven - to sit reading in a field of bluebells!

    ReplyDelete
  36. How did I miss this? I am flabbergasted. Going to Netflix right away!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk. ~ John Keats

    How wonderful to think about creativity in an ascetic way.

    Thanks for this film recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Okay, added to the queue. Your recommendation is enough for me.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Wow. The sonnet is gorgeous and the music? WOW!!!

    Were people more romantic in the past than now? What do you tink?

    ReplyDelete
  40. So you came 'round, did you? :) I went up the moment the day it opened near me at a gorgeous art deco theatre. Yes, spoilt. Anyway, I think Jane Campion will forgive you. I've forced many a (later happy I did so) personne to watch the DVD. As a poet, I was thrilled that someone did so well with this period. It absolutely helped that she took on Andrew Motion (his Keats biography which is excellent, BTW) as a consultant. She decided to do the picture after reading the bio.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Reya, I definitely think people were more romantic in the past. One's heart had to be won before the bedroom scene. What ever happened to lovely old fashioned wooing? Sonnets and bluebells?

    ReplyDelete
  42. OK, so now I will see it.
    I'm terribly slow.
    So thrilled that someone close to you is moving to NY!
    Then YOU will have to visit here too!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I never did see this one and had wanted to--we'll have to try to, as I also love Jane Campion. That photo at the top of your post is exquisite, isn't it!

    ReplyDelete
  44. That first picture is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  45. we are again on the same queue at netflix! i just saw bright star over the weekend!

    I love everything about this movie.

    And the silences were just as full as the sounds.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Another one to keep my eyes open for. You have a way of making every film your review a film that I must see. If you ever need a job, I am sure there will be one in Hollywood for you.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oh gosh Willow, for the first time ever, I'm going to have to ever-so-slightly disagree with you. I was so looking forward to seeing this movie, but left feeling less than satisfied. It was a very metered & controlled film, the actors did a mostly fine job, but didn't seem to inhabit their roles totally & draw me into their world. I got the wriggles half way through, not a good Millie sign. However, I'm delighted you enjoyed it & yes, Ms. Campion is still on my Favourites list.
    M ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  48. The photograph is stunning and will most certainly check out the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I have watched it and I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  50. ...on my list as of this minute:)

    ReplyDelete
  51. Watched this on Friday and loved it!

    Beautifully directed, shot, and acted...

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks for the film suggestion. I love Keats and will certainly like this movie.

    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

    ReplyDelete
  53. Willow my friend, I like the way you have reinvented yourself. Your blog has undergone some interesting changes.
    It seems that in my pain induced absence I have missed a lot. Hope I get back to normal soom so I can visit more often.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Willow, I just was not taken with this movie as a whole. I liked Fanny but Keats just didn't do it for me. The actor didn't look like Keats, was too limp-wristed and didn't recite the poems all that well. Had just been reading The Posthumous Keats, by the way, which I highly recommend, so that may be why I was somewhat skeptical throughout. But the outdoor scenes. Lord, they were gorgeous! And I loved the way the movie began. And the butterflies. So much that was splendid, Campion can weave a tapestry of image beautifully, but for me, the portrayal of Keats was a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Kathryn, thanks for your input. I'm not all that knowledgeable about Keats, so maybe that's why I was able to just sit back and enjoy. You've inspired me to do some further reading. I'm putting The Posthumous Keats on my list right now!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Willow, I watched this back during the deep, dark, winter...it was truly lovely. It made me go back to Keats for a review....which is still underway! He too.....was a Bright Star!

    ReplyDelete
  57. I'm curious as to just where this movie was filmed. It's such a romantic looking place and the bluebells are breathtaking.

    DI
    The Blue Ridge Gal

    ReplyDelete
  58. http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/follow-jingle-to-make-your-blog-twinkle-awards/

    awards for you,
    thank you for commenting under my magpie tale post!
    you rock!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I rather enjoyed the film, but I have to say I just didn't find Ben Wishaw believable as Keats. In fact, I found him wishy-washy and was so grateful that we didn't have to watch him (well, that would spoil it, so I won't say).

    Perhaps it's because I also saw him as Sebastian Flyte in the most recent adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. Maybe he will grow on me if I watch it again. (I do have it on dvd.)

    It is a gorgeous film though. I'll give you that.

    Kat

    ReplyDelete
  60. Now I have to see this... it was on the 'maybe' list and we just never got to it.

    The photo with bluebells is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Okay so I couldn't wait. Wonderful post and you did not give anything away rather I believe you might have enhanced my viewing experience. Yikes I hope I can wait for that day I described before I see it.

    ReplyDelete

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)