Friday, November 09, 2012

“We don’t want tourists to say ‘I went to Haworth, but saw a huge wind farm’”

A couple of new reviews of Wuthering Heights 2011. The Salt Lake Tribune reviewer seems in two minds about the film:

Arnold eschews narration or exposition, opting instead for artful long shots of the characters and their bleak, muddy surroundings. The results are often obtuse and self-consciously arty. But the movie is also frequently engrossing, sucking the viewer into the emotional landscape of these star-crossed lovers. (Sean P. Means)
And again:
Director Andrea Arnold ("Fish Tank") brings some grit to Emily Brontë’s classic "Wuthering Heights," and pushes the always-tense relationship between working-class Heathcliff and noblewoman Catherine by casting black actors (James Howson and Solomon Glave) as Heathcliff. The results are sometimes moving, but frequently obtuse. (Sean P. Means)
The Philadelphia Inquirer gives it 2 1/2 stars out of 4:
Arnold's Wuthering Heights has its doom-laden moments of urgency and heartache, but vast swaths of the (longish) film just seem to meander across the muddy hills. Shannon Beer, whom Arnold has cast as the young Cathy Earnshaw, looks windblown and lost, while Solomon Glave, as the young Heathcliff, holds the screen with a quiet intensity. His older counterpart, James Howson, performs a credible segue into the adult Heathcliff, but Kaya Scodelario as the grown-up Catherine - gone off and wed to Edgar - looks nothing like Beer, and is too conventionally beautiful for the part.
Arnold's big move was to make Heathcliff black, which adds another dynamic to the classism that defined Brontë's book and all the other Wuthering Heights films that have come before. It's not color-blind casting, to be sure, because Heathcliff is assaulted with racial epithets by the bitter, raging Hindley.
Unfortunately, rather than imbue the film with more purposeful and relevant social commentary, Arnold's decision just seems kind of gimmicky and odd. (Steven Rea)
Back on the actual moors, the Brontë Society is against enlarging the current wind farm, as reported by The Telegraph and Argus:
Calderdale Council will discuss the application at a meeting of its planning committee, which starts at 3pm on Tuesday.
Sally McDonald and Christine Went, of the Haworth-based Brontë Society, both plan to attend and speak their cases.
Mrs Went said: “Given you can see the existing turbines from Haworth and these ones will be twice the size, the Brontë society considers this wholly inappropriate.
“Even thought there will be fewer of them, the impact will be much greater. You will have structures twice the size of Nelson’s column.
“When people come to Haworth they want to walk in the areas that have connections to Wuthering Heights. The last thing they want to see is a wind turbine.
“The Haworth economy is based on tourism, which is a delicate industry. It is not a good time to have a feature this size imposed by another council.
“We don’t want tourists to say ‘I went to Haworth, but saw a huge wind farm’.” (Chris Young)
More causes to fight for, as The Telegraph reports from The Women's Library front.
Although the collection - whose texts range from the Brontës to Bridget Jones - will be kept intact, campaigners are angry that it must be moved from its purpose-built Aldgate home to LSE’s library in central London. Will the Women’s Library, with its long history of the fight for equal rights, still really have a room of its own? (Rachel Cooper)
The City Book Review has asked Gretl, age 11, to review Catherine Reef's The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. She gives it 4 out of 5 stars and concludes that,
This was a depressing book, but only because they had such sad lives.  The author did a good job writing the story and it was a very engaging read. I liked how the author discussed the books that the girls wrote, and the photos that were throughout the book.  I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a good biography of the Brontës.
The Kansas City Star reviews the collection of short stories Dear Life by Alice Munro and finds Brontë echoes in one of its stories.
Amundsen,” a twist on “Jane Eyre,” is one of the most surprising stories. A young woman takes a teaching job at a tuberculosis hospital for kids and winds up falling in love and getting engaged to the town doctor. Here Munro employs her boldest use of misdirection, letting the turning point of the story take place off the page, just outside the reader’s consciousness. (Christine Pivovar)
Inspired by the book Orwell's Cough, Chron's Bookish asks readers to match authors with their ailments: The Brontës and tuberculosis are there, even though Charlotte Brontë didn't probably died of TB. Onthebox comments on the Downton Abbey season 3 finale (BEWARE OF SPOILERS) and includes the now-compulsory Jane Eyre mention. Decine21's Blog de Hildy (Spain) discusses rain in the movies, mentioning Jane Eyre and Wuthering HeightsWading Through the Ocean of Life and Intothebook both post about Jane Eyre. Scarabocchi di pensieri writes in Italian about Wuthering Heights. Nourritures terrestres et nourritures spirituelles posts in French about Agnes Grey.

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