Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two hours lost forever or a Bold Approach

It's that time of the year, you know. Days of lists and tops. On several best-movies-of-the-year Wuthering Heights 2011 is to be found. For better or for worse:

Style is no substitute for substance: Wuthering Heights was massacred by filmmaker Andrea Arnold.
The incessant moaning to be heard on the Yorkshire moors throughout was the sound of Emily Brontë rising from her grave to beg for it to stop – or maybe that was me after the end of the second hour of watching Heathcliff and Cathy gaze wildly at each other. Another two hours of my life that are lost forever. (Gayle Mahala in CityPress, South Africa)
Most disappointing romance: Bel Ami.
Dishonourable mention: A Little Bit of Heaven, Wuthering Heights.
Where Andrea Arnold's rendition of Brontë tried far too hard to be important and clever, Kate Hudson made painfully little effort to engage our brains in A Little Bit of Heaven. (Giles Hardie in The Sydney Morning Herald)
Andrea Arnold’s latest screen adaptation of Emily Brontë’s classic novel rings relevant and significant in its interracial twist of the star-crossed lovers. Seemingly inadvertently perhaps, the film carries with it historical connotation, a legacy of racial discrimination and “white superiority/privilege” told almost entirely from the point-of-view of a black Heathcliff. This very element makes Arnold’s latest all the more poignant; it even feels overdue. (IndieWire's Shadow and Act)
The film will be broadcast on Channel 4 next December 29th and some newspapers talk about it:
There's a novel cinematic take on the Emily Brontë novel. Director Andrea Arnold strips things right back to basics, which means no music score, "natural" sound and an unknown cast. In 19th-century Yorkshire, young Heathcliff is rescued from poverty by Mr Earnshaw and taken into his family home, where he develops an intense relationship with Earnshaw's daughter, Cathy. The end result may not be for Brontë fanatics, but you can't deny it's a bold approach. (Bristol Evening News)
Andrea Arnold brings real conviction to this latest adaptation of Emily Brontë's smouldering classic. This is the first version that makes overt the latent suggestion that Heathcliff is Afro-Caribbean (played by Solomon Glave as a youth and James Howson when older), emphasising the transgressive nature of his love for Catherine (Shannon Beer/Kaya Scodelario). It's a heavy, passionate, at times brutal rendering of the wild moorland romance. (Paul Howlett in The Guardian)
Picks for the following week include 2011’s Wuthering Heights (11.10pm, C4, 29th), by the superbly talented director of Fish Tank Andrea Arnold. (Philip Maughan in the New Statesman
SouthWest Virginia Today mentions the latest installment of The Mother-Daughter Book Club Series: Wish You Were Eyre:
The sixth, and final book, is “Wish You Were Eyre” featuring “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. By this time, the girls are sophomores in high school – getting drivers’ licenses, having boyfriends, thinking about colleges and careers – practically grown up. I’m going to miss them. Good reading. (Wilma Snyder)
Germaine Greer reminds readers that hyperemesis gravidarum is to be taken seriously. In The Sydney Morning Herald:
On March 31, 1855, Charlotte Brontë died. She was 38 years old, married a mere nine months and she was pregnant. What killed her was probably the same disorder that is now afflicting the Duchess of Cambridge. Hyperemesis gravidarum, excessive vomiting in pregnancy, is a life-threatening condition to be treated as a medical emergency.
The Guardian interviews Lydia Syson:
What is the best book that you've ever read?
That's an absolutely impossible question! Jane Eyre is the book I've probably read more often than any other. I find different books best for different times in my life. (ellathebookworm)
National Post (Canada) reviews Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson:
But in England, whether you look at the work of Jacobson, Arnold Wesker, Frederic Raphael or, for that matter, even Harold Pinter, the obsession with class and how to be a part of its highest echelon is played out according to pre-determined rules. Merely by wanting, there is a giving in. So Ableman, whether condemning other people’s judgments never better than his, or hearkening after Brontë, Miller, Thackeray, Spencer and Montaigne, comes across as off-putting and pathetic rather than funny or outrageous and someone to take his place alongside the mischievous Tricksters that North American Jewish literature has provided. Ableman is, as he says of Norman Mailer, one of the “sperm-chuckers of yesteryear,” and no more. Jacobson needs to do better than this. (Noah Richler)
Caitlin Moran reviews the British TV year in The Times:
Hunderby essentially took the essence of Rebecca and the Brontës and shot by candlelight something between a parody, a love letter and a mutation of the Gothic novel.
Bowen Island Undercurrent interviews the writer Frank Kemble:
Kemble loves books by Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen, works that require time and have to be savoured. “Now, everyone wants to get stimulus on a plate – people don’t want to make an effort,” he says. And movies partly feed into that. “I love movies but there is so much action that reeks of insincerity and nonsense, I don’t want to take part in that,” he said. But good storytelling draws the audience in, in books as well as movies. “If it’s a good story, people will go to see the movie and then they’ll buy book,” Kemble says and mentions the example of the modern version of Sherlock Holmes that has rekindled the interest in the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Susanne Martin)
The Daily Examiner (Australia) tells the story of Lulu Belle, a seven-year-old that sadly didn't survive cancer:
Belinda started raising funds for Cure Cancer after Lulu was first given the all-clear and since those devastating months that followed, introduced the special tribute soap which has been selling faster than she can order it. (...)
Belinda said despite her short life her niece was wise beyond her years.
"We used to listen to classical music together and read books. Lulu preferred stories like Wuthering Heights to children's tales. She would try to steal my glass of French champagne on occasion. She had amazing insight."
Los Angeles Times reviews A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks:
As with any collection, some of Faulks' stories leave a larger imprint than others. (The Italian scientist's discoveries founder on a plot contrivance that might have been dragged from the Brontës' attic.) (Louis Bayard)
Jennifer Grey in The Florida Times-Union reviews Bill Henderson's Rotten Reviews Redux... and seems to agree with some of the reviewers quoted there. Mr Henderson should consider the possibility of including her in his next edition of the book:
The Examiner is absolutely correct calling “Wuthering Heights” “wild, confused, disjointed and improbable,” as would anyone confronted with the narrative structure on that thing.
Wake Up News (Italy) recommends a Brontë novel for Christmas (but only, it seems, for women); One Fine Day to Read (in Swedish) posts about Jane Eyre; Hathaways of Haworth posts some nice pictures as
the Keighley News wanted shots to do a piece about the Brontë Parsonage special day of events on Dec 29th .
Book-Maker reviews Wuthering Heights; Yogi's Blog attended the UEA Drama Studio performances of Jane Eyre; Clandestine Classics gives away a copy of its erotic version of Jane Eyre; Assurément reviews in French Wuthering Heights 2011.

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