Friday, November 30, 2012

Are you a Rochosexual too?

Here's a fresh batch of reviews of Wuthering Heights 2011. The Chicago Tribune gives the film 2 1/2 stars:

I saw the film, a noble mixed bag full of sharp objects, a few weeks ago. What I remember most clearly about it now is its paradoxical dankness. Photographed like a breathless nature documentary in windy, swampy, muddy North Yorkshire by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who has worked on all of Arnold's feature-length and short films to date, this "Wuthering Heights" exists on a deglamorized planet far, far away from the best-known film adaptation of the story to date, William Wyler's 1939 showcase for Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier. [...]
Arnold's interpretation is taciturn, often entirely without dialogue, though it becomes increasingly conventional in its scene structure as it goes and as the actors hand off the key roles. In reality it's a bit of a slog. The gulf between the cast's first-time film actors and their more seasoned cohorts is considerable. The young performers have their moments, but they're rarely fully felt or dramatically incisive. The movie plays like an idea for a "Wuthering Heights" adaptation.
And yet parts of it stick with you. As adventurous concepts go, this one travels in the exact opposite direction of the new Joe Wright-directed "Anna Karenina," another intriguing mixed bag, though that adaptation risks suffocating on its own elaborate layering and thematic embroidery. Arnold's "Wuthering Heights" is many things, and not others, but it comes with the lowest possible embroidery count.
To say nothing of its frippery count. (Michael Phillips)
The (East Central Illinois) News-Gazette gives it 3 1/2 stars out of 4:
To be sure, Arnold's "Wuthering Heights" probably won't appeal to purists of Brontë's work or Wyler's adaptation. However, I found it to be a revelatory experience, as the story finds new life in being seen through such a stark lens, raising the stakes where love, passion and revenge are concerned and giving merit to all that Heathcliff and Cathy endure and suffer. (Chuck Koplinski)
ChicagoPride also reviews it:
Focusing on the obsession, cruelty and brutality of the story, in equal measure, this version of "Wuthering Heights" is as far from Sir Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon as you can get. While Arnold's vision for this version is an admirable experiment, it is ultimately unsatisfying, bordering on pretentious. Arnold is better off sticking with the contemporary stories she tells so well. (Gregg Shapiro)
Interesting how all three remark on the distance from William Wyler's take on the novel.

RedEye finds more recent films to which it can be compared and gives it 3 out of 4 stars:
Writer-director Andrea Arnold’s last film, 2010’s “Fish Tank,” starred Michael Fassbender in one of many fantastic performances that all but guaranteed he'd be a huge star. One year later, Fassbender held his own in Cary Fukunaga's big-screen take on Charlotte Brontë's “Jane Eyre,” which has been covered so many times it will probably be adapted again tomorrow.
Now, completing this little circle, Arnold takes her turn at a Brontë classic with her stark, breathless version of “Wuthering Heights.” Purists may find it too atmospheric; personally, I bring no reservations about the material (never read the book in English class) and think the film more successfully communicates old-fashioned feelings to a modern screen than Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre” or Joe Wright’s recent “Anna Karenina.(Matt Pais)
The Daily Herald reviews the film as well:
Andrea Arnold’s bold re-imagining of Emily Bronte’s classic book “Wuthering Heights” will go down as one of the coldest movies ever made. Not only because of the barren wintry landscapes, whistling winds and the cast’s frosty breath, but because the characters emanate all the warmth of dry ice. (Dann Gire)
The Telegraph reviews Mike Newell's Great Expectations:
And Pip’s London dining society, with their Bullingdon Club manners and desperately on-trend haircuts, seem to have blown in from another version again: a wilder adaptation in the same vein as Andrea Arnold’s elemental Wuthering Heights, or Cary Fukunaga’s achingly beautiful Jane Eyre, both of which were released last year. (Robbie Collin)
News Shopper discusses film adaptations of the classics after watching Jane Eyre 2011.
Having just finished watching yet another film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, I feel I am yet again left with the same feelings as the last. The film was all very fast-paced – which I do not adhere to, as I understand the need to condense a novel into a two-hour period – However, I found myself thrown into a flurry of activity. From a storm, to the fight between Jane and John Reed, where she is locked in the haunted “Red Room”, and knocks herself out in a petrified fit. It is useful to note that this was all within eight minutes of the film’s beginning. I dare say that I am overwhelmed, but understand the need for this to entertain the modern audience.
This columnist from XOJane claims to be a 'Rochosexual' (and wonders why she is).
Here's the thing, though: I might have fallen in like with my husband because of his prose, but I fell in love with him because of Charlotte Brontë's. When I finally did meet Matt, I discovered he looked like Edward Rochester, and I'm not going to lie -- that's what really did it for me.
I am a Rochosexual. I have been ever since the eighth grade, when I read Jane Eyre in Mrs. Buchanan's English class. Come Gilbert and Gubar, come Jean Rhys and Kate Beaton and even Julieanne Smolinski, my attraction to the type has persisted: older, swarthy, laconic, melancholy, a little rude, broad-shoulderaaaablaaahhh I'm getting all hot and bothered just writing this.
Were you to meet any of my past, er, intimate partners, you’d have to be Blanche Ingram not to see Mr. Rochester in disguise. I’ve dated a lot of older men, including my husband, who's 14 years my senior. I’ve also dated many British men, loners, and people who are now incandescently gay. (Psst: in the era of no-fault divorce, "madwoman in attic" has been replaced by "closeted homosexuality” as the leading cause of sexy, mysterious torment in a man’s eyes.) (Anna Latimer)
While she decides where the attraction comes from, BoldSky has included both Mr Rochester and Heathcliff on its list of '10 Bad Guys Who Are Literary Heroes'.
Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights
Talk about falling for the Devil himself; Heathcliff is a man who is drenched in evil but Cathrine can love no other man. Cathrine's famous lines "I am Heathcliff" can never be forgotten.
Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre
Ugly, cruel and authoritative, Mr Rochester initially scares Jane, the governess of his child. But then she falls passionately in love with her. (Anwesha)
La Presse (Canada) shares some recommendations for young readers and among them is
«Jane, le renard et moi». Un coup de c?ur de la rentrée littéraire. Cette bande dessinée sur la méchanceté entre filles saura toucher ceux qui se sont sentis un jour seuls, moches ou à part des autres. C'est-à-dire à peu près tout le monde... Comment Jane Eyre et l'amitié redonnent des couleurs à la vie. Un sujet sensible destiné aux grands, mais qu'on peut faire lire sans crainte. À partir de 11 ou 12 ans. Fanny Britt et Isabelle Arsenault, La Pastèque, 104 pages, 26,95$. (Translation)
Wuthering Heights fans might enjoy tracking this down. From the South Wales Evening Post:
A Welsh Government project, the Library of Wales, created to ensure that Wales's literary heritage written in English was made available to modern audiences, has reached its 50,000th sale.
Titles selected for the Library of Wales are unavailable, out-of- print, or merely forgotten, and published by Parthian.
They range from well-known classics by Raymond Williams, Gwyn Thomas and Dannie Abse, to forgotten works such as Lewis Jones's Cwmardy, and Turf or Stone, the "Welsh Wuthering Heights", by Margiad Evans.
The following, unfortunately, seems impossible to find. From the obituary of ballerina Lois Bewley from The New York Times:
Her other choreographic works included “Visions Fugitives,” brief skits set to music by Prokofiev, and “Children of Darkness,” a ballet based on “Wuthering Heights,” for which Ms. Bewley designed the costumes and the set (consisting of her own photographs of the Yorkshire moors, projected on front and rear scrims) and played the lead role of Catherine. It had its premiere with the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1973. (Bruce Weber)
A columnist from The Memphis Daily News reminisces about one of his teachers.
She knew some weird and wonderful people, and she introduced us. To Coleridge, his Ancient Mariner and that dead bird around his neck. To the Shelleys, both the precious Percy and the monstrous Mary. To Byron and the Brontë girls. To the brooding Faulkner, his bear and Emily’s rose. To a whole world of carefully chosen words, made immortal by their choice. (Dan Conaway)
Actualitté (France) has an article on the Houses of Fiction exhibition. Hathaways of Haworth imagines a world without the Brontës, or the Parsonage as a B&B. Broken Smile and Hojeando mundos... (in Spanish) post about Jane Eyre. More from Thoughts and Stuff on the 1983 adaptation of the novel. Chema Benítez Arte Gráfico posts several illustrations based on the novel. Girl Lost in a Book reviews Joanna Campbell Slan's first installment of her Jane Jane Eyre Chronicles, Death of a Schoolgirl. Lauren's Crammed Booshelf has a guest post by Libby Mercer, author of the upcoming Unmasking Maya, where she tells about the Jane Eyre connections of her novel. Book Reviews by Shiny Kitten Stickers posts about Jude Morgan's The Taste of Sorrow. Stitch and Style reveals the origins of this poster. Screencaps from Les Soeurs Brontë by grande_caps.

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