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)