Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Harriet Walter’

I was tempted to watch this atmospheric adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s early 19th-century verse novel because of the fine cast, headed by Ralph Fiennes as world-weary aristocrat Eugene Onegin, Liv Tyler as the heroine, country girl Tatyana, and Toby Stephens as Onegin’s idealistic friend Vladimir Lensky.

Onegin1However, fine as the actors are, I think in the end it will be the stunning scenery, the cinematography (by historical drama expert Remi Adefarasin) and above all the snow that stay with me from this production.  Recently I watched the BBC mini-series The Impressionists, which uses slightly blurred colours to make its landscapes look uncannily like the paintings. This feature film often has the same kind of visual effect, slightly blurring and fading to create a haunting, dream-like impression.

The film is something of a Fiennes family project, with Martha Fiennes directing, her brother Ralph doubling as the star and the executive producer, and another brother, Magnus, having composed the haunting music, which nonetheless sounds very Russian to me. The blend of music and scenery reminded me of David Lean’s Dr Zhivago (1965), though I don’t think there are any balalaikas. I don’t know anything much about the screenwriter, Peter Ettedgui, but see from the imdb that he also scripted Vigo (1998), which is another tragic story, tracing the brief life of French film-maker Jean Vigo.

The film opens with a weary Onegin travelling through the Russian countryside after leaving St Petersburg to go to the deathbed of his uncle, a country aristocrat. His sophisticated lifestyle in St Petersburg, an endless succession of opera visits and affairs, is suggested in flashback, before he arrives in the bleak countryside – where he inherits the estate and meets Lensky, forming an instant friendship.

I should warn that I’m about to give away the whole plot of the film as I can’t really discuss it further without doing so – I don’t usually worry too much about spoilers, but there are a couple of twists, so if you don’t know the story, you might want to stop reading here.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I expected – or at any rate hoped for – a lot from Chéri, another of the costume dramas I’ve seen in the last few weeks, when it appeared all too briefly at a local cinema.  It’s something of a Dangerous Liaisons reunion, with the same director, Stephen Frears, screenwriter, Christopher Hampton, and star, Michelle Pfeiffer.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea

Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea

 
Although I’d seen some bad reviews, I remembered that historical dramas often seem to get a bad press, and still hoped for the best. As a costume drama fan, I did quite enjoy it, but I was disappointed all the same. To me, this film  is nowhere near the standard of Dangerous Liaisons – the costumes are sumptuous, the settings breathtaking, but the script is just not in the same league.
 
This movie is based on two novels by Colette,  Chéri and The Last of Chéri .(I’ve read that the second novel is summed up in the last couple of lines of voiceover.)  I haven’t read either of the books, so can’t say how close it is to them, but, as a drama in its own right, it feels rather thin.
 
(more…)

Read Full Post »

The first thing that struck me about The Young Victoria was just how beautiful the whole film looks. The sunlit palaces, sweeping green lawns and, above all, the sumptuous costumes all work together to cast a spell – one I was delighted to fall under. The costumes are currently on display at Blenheim Palace – sadly, I don’t think I’m going to get a chance to see them before the event finishes at the  end of the month, but I’m putting in a link to an article about the exhibition.

Emily Blunt as Victoria

Emily Blunt as Victoria

I’d expected a lot from this film ever since I heard it was being made. It has a fine cast, headed by Emily Blunt in the title role, with other top names including Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter and Julian Glover. There’s also an interesting  up-and-coming director, Jean Marc Vallée – and a top scriptwriter, Julian Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his script for Gosford Park.  The name of Martin Scorsese as a producer was an added attraction, as if I needed one.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I saw a trailer for the forthcoming movie The Young Victoria today, and can’t wait to see the whole thing – it’s released here in the UK on March 6, no date yet for the US as far as I know. I see that the official website  is now up although there isn’t all that much content as yet. With Julian Fellowes of Gosford Park fame as the scriptwriter, and a cast including Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany, Harriet Walter and other top actors, I have high hopes for this film. I have seen C.R.A.Z.Y., a previous film made by the director, French Canadian Jean-Marc Vallée, which was a powerful drama set in the glam-rock era – not a costume drama, but still very good. Oh yes, and Martin Scorsese is a producer!

Read Full Post »