Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pre-Modern Heights

Andrew O'Hehir lists his top ten films of the year on Salon and Wuthering Heights 2011 is his number one, without a doubt:

I suppose Scottish director Andrea Arnold’s ravishing widescreen reimagining of Emily Brontë’s classic novel won’t launch any national debates about slavery or torture – although I would argue both those issues are obliquely addressed, among many others – but when it came time to finalize this list I realized it had burrowed into my unconscious in a way no other movie did, even in this amazing year. If there’s an element of Terrence Malick-like cinematic abstraction and landscape photography to this “Wuthering Heights,” it feels more pre-modern than postmodern, as if it’s trying to dig backward through all the costume-drama adaptations to the physical, elemental truths of life and love on the frigid moors of Yorkshire. As a visual and sensual out-of-body experience (mention must go to Robbie Ryan, Arnold’s amazing cinematographer), no other movie released this year comes close. 
Films de Culte (France) has also included the film on its top ten. Like East Bay Express:
[Wuthering Heights] evidently struck some viewers as drastically dour, but for us, Andrea Arnold's rethinking of Emily Brontë's tragic romance illuminates dark corners, and updates that 1846 novel in unmistakable fashion for 21st-century audiences finally ready to put 19th-century racism and intolerance in a box and bury them forever. Director Arnold and writer Olivia Hetreed see fit to make their Heathcliff a newly freed slave stranded in the Yorkshire Moors through an ostensible act of kindness. It is Heathcliff's beloved Cathy, however, who wears the chains, shackled to her family's menfolk and her rich husband in turn. The setting is as chilly and forbidding, with just as many expressive emotional overtones, as Cary Fukunaga's sterling Jane Eyre adaptation last year. Although both films were first released in the UK in 2011, Wuthering took longer to reach us. (Kelly Vance
Not the same opinion as The Australian:
Then there were the unnecessary remakes of films that were better handled the last time (Total Recall, Red Dawn, Wuthering Heights)[.] (David Stratton)
The New York Times talks about the Buddenbrookhaus (the museum devoted to Thomas and Heinrich Mann) in Lübeck, Germany:
In some ways the Manns are perfect for a gossipy, confessional era. The brothers are like a German version of the Brontë sisters with a dash of Cain and Abel, nonviolent but still rivalrous. The family history includes prosperity and power, a fall from grace, sibling strife, suicide and scandal. “The Blue Angel,” adapted from Heinrich Mann’s novel “Small Town Tyrant,” is a cinema classic that made Marlene Dietrich a star. (Nicholas Kulish)
MSN's Videodrome talks about some films that will leave the NetFlix Instant Service with the new year:
Joan Fontaine is the ostensible star of the "Jane Eyre" (1944), playing the meek orphan hired by a brooding aristocrat to be governess to his young ward (Margaret O'Brien), but it's Orson Welles who dominates the drama with both his dark, electric presence and his influence behind the scenes of the production. The handsome production, one of the romantic classics of the forties, is credited to director Robert Stevenson but Fontaine herself maintains that Welles had a considerable hand in the production. (SeanAx)
Now some websites that quote Charlotte Brontë. First no less than Scientific American in an article about psychology and sharing joy:
Great literary figures have long known that happiness grows in sharing. In one of her letters, Charlotte Brontë observes “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” (Emma Seppala)
The quote comes from a letter to W.S. Williams (March 19, 1850) and coincidentally it is also quoted on Deseret News in an article about new year's resolutions.

The Sun (Nigeria) publishes the obituary of Nnenyin Alison Attah, former First Lady of the Akwa Ibom state:
It was Charlotte Brontë who wrote in Jane Eyre that “prejudices are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones”.
Perhaps, realizing the truism of Brontë’s postulate,Nnenyin as First Lady of Akwa Ibom State devoted time to pushing the frontier of literacy, by helping toimprove the reading skills of the Akwa Ibom child. (Godwin Nzeakah)
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin talks about T.S. Elliot's visit to Claremont:
On Dec. 27, 1932, Eliot arrived via train at the Santa Fe depot (still in use) in Claremont. It's lucky he didn't disembark in Pomona and wonder where the college was.
Hale and Paul Havens, a professor with a car, picked him up.
"My husband," Lorraine Havens remembered, "loved to tell how he greeted the famous poet at 6:20 a.m. as he descended unshaven from the Santa Fe railway car."
They drove to the home of Mary Eyre, a Scripps professor who lived at 1132 N. College Ave. (home still standing), which had been lent to him for his stay.
(Oh, if only he had been driven to the home of Jane Eyre! He might have competed with Mr. Rochester for Jane's affections, with Emily Hale as a fourth member of the love quadrangle. But I digress.) (David Allen)
El Mundo (Spain) talks about the Spanish edition of Jeremy Musson's Up and Down Stairs:
Otro de los repasos más interesantes del libro de Jeremy Musson es el recorrido por la historia de los sirvientes y señores como 'dramatis personae' para la literatura y el cine y su querencia con el llamado género el de campiña inglesa que cultivaron Austen y las hermanas Brontë. (Eva Díez Pérez) (Translation)
EFE (Spain) reviews El cine español. Una historia cultural by Vicente J. Benet:
Reconoce influencias del cine de terror de la Universal o de "Cumbres borrascosas" en la adaptación cinematográfica de "Eloísa está debajo del almendro", de Jardiel Poncela, del neorrealismo en "Surcos", de Nieves Conde, o figuras transnacionales como Marco Ferreri o Ladislao Wajda que, en cambio, ofrecieron títulos tan identitarios para el público español como "El cochecito" o "Marcelino, pan y vino".
Flavorwire republishes its post devoted to the ten most powerful women in literature which included Jane Eyre; Le Chemin Imaginaire reviews in French The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Minha Alma Pede Livros (in Portuguese) posts about Wuthering Heights; Las Lágrimas de Alicia (in Spanish) continues posting about Jane Eyre (and all these posts); Krakowskie Czytanie (in Polish) posts about Agnes Grey; Salacious Reads is not convinced with Jane Eyre Laid Bare; colinheke uploads to YouTube a couple of videos of a trip to Haworth in 1991.

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