Sunday, 25 April 2010

Bright Star

Oh Bright Star, you were such a beautiful film: Fanny in a field of blue flowers behind a floating screen of green leaves; Keats, Brown and Fanny as two brown dots and one pink one, running across a field and the two lovers, pink and turquoise against a copse of light grey trees.

You started with a needle being threaded and poking in and out of fabric. I took this to be a heavy handed sexual metaphor but there was to be no consummation. Keats said to Brown 'There is a holiness to the heart's affections that you know nothing about.'

There was no sex, in film or real life, but the scene where Fanny moves her bed against the wall that adjoins her bedroom with Keats' was swiftly followed by a study of a bee seeking pollen outside, amongst the blooms. Fanny collected butterflies, letting them take over her room.

The attraction between the lovers was immediate and acknowledged by all and anyone with a passing acquaintance with the biography of Keats could guess the plot. And yet. The time flew and one's heart was gripped as this well known tale spun out. Jane Campion is the master of scenes in which nothing, and yet everything happens. A slow shot of somebody's hands, through her lens, can break your heart.

The lush cinematography which highlighted a red haired child against a bank of evergreen trees, was off set by quotidian family exchange: 'I've let this happen', moaned Fanny's mother, sounding like a soap opera mum who realises that her teenage daughter is pregnant by a family friend. Siblings grumbled at each other and people sat about on couches and beds, staring into space or looking at one another.

The film was so quiet, we had to set the volume high enough that we were deafened when the channel changed. The images spoke loudest in this film about a poet. Tears were experienced.


  1. What a beautiful, thoughtful piece.

    "scenes in which nothing, and yet everything happens"

    Everything you said was just perfect.

  2. Thank you Claire, it really was such a lovely film. I borrowed it from Lovefilm and still have not had the heart to post it back!