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Posts Tagged ‘Amanda Root’

Classic literary adaptations on TV might be in short supply at the moment, but there are two feature film versions of the Brontës’ novels due for release in 2011 – a new Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga and a new Wuthering Heights directed by Andrea Arnold. I’d be more excited about adaptations of works which haven’t been brought to the screen so many times already – but, nevertheless, will look forward to seeing both of these, especially the new take on Jane Eyre, as it is one of my favourite novels and I’ve reread it many times over the years. I loved the Sandy Welch version with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, which I hope to re-watch and review soon, but am always game for a new version too.

Seeing the trailer for the new Jane Eyre reminded me that I hadn’t yet got round to watching the most recent feature film version, from 1996, directed by Franco Zeffirelli and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt, although I bought the DVD some time back. (I didn’t see it on release because my children were small then and it was hard to get out to the cinema.) I’ve now watched this one and have rather mixed feelings about it – my main problem being, perhaps surprisingly, that it felt too reined-in and not passionate enough. I have always remembered the sensuous romance of Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, and I suppose I expected something of the same atmosphere in this adaptation – but this is a far quieter film, with much of the emotion kept so far beneath the surface that it all but vanishes.

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I’ve been too busy to blog for the last few weeks due to various commitments and hassles – sorry! However, I have still found time to watch a few costume dramas and am going to try to write a few thoughts on those I’ve seen.

One of the series I have been watching is the new BBC drama Desperate Romantics, which focuses on the lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. So it seemed like a good time to watch The Impressionists, another BBC series about another brotherhood of artists, starring Julian Glover and Richard Armitage as the older and younger Claude Monet, which I somehow managed to miss a  few years ago.

Richard Armitage as the young Claude Monet

Richard Armitage as the young Claude Monet

There are a lot of similarities in theme between the two series, since both focus on small, close-knit groups of young painters who challenged and in the end triumphed over the artistic establishment. However, as dramas, they are very different to watch. The Impressionists is directed by Tim Dunn who has also made art and history documentaries, and, as far as I could tell, sticks close to the facts of the artists’ lives, with an announcement at the start of each episode telling viewers: “This is a true story.”  The BBC press pack says that it is based on “archive letters, records and interviews from the time.” By contrast, Desperate Romantics takes wild liberties with what really happened, and has an announcement at the start of each episode stressing that it is fiction inspired by fact. Anyway, I don’t want to say too much about Desperate Romantics in this posting since I’m still trying to work out whether I loved or hated it – a full review will hopefully follow soon when I’ve sorted out my thoughts.

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