Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘films’ Category

It’s the 100th anniversary of the 1920 German expressionist film, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” and Virginia Woolf is mentioned in the headline of the story on The Conversation website that celebrates that fact.

Virginia Woolf screensaver on an old keyboard-style Kindle

Woolf, the article says, “marvelled at how the set design mirrored the emotions felt by the characters and the audience: ‘it seemed as if thought could be conveyed by shape more effectively than words.'”

“The Cinema”

Woolf shared her thoughts in “The Cinema,” an article published in the July 3, 1926, issue of The Nation and Athenaeum. In it, she articulates her fascination with and fear of this newly evolving art form that at the time was strictly a black-and-white, silent medium that she believed was both parasitic and ripe with potential.

It is an art form that starts with the eyes, but the eyes are soon forced to engage the brain, she argues.

We behold them as they are when we are not there. We see life as it is when we have no part in it. As we gaze we seem to be removed from the pettiness of actual existence. The horse will not knock us down. The king will not grasp our hands. The wave will not wet our feet. … Further, all this happened ten years ago, we are told. We are beholding a world which has gone beneath the waves. – Virginia Woolf, “The Cinema”

 

 

Read Full Post »

Here is a roundup of music and movie news of interest to followers of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group.

Read Full Post »

Chanya Button’s new film Vita And Virginia will be shown at 8:15 p.m July 30 at the Barn Cinema, Dartington Hall, Devon, followed by a post-screening discussion of the film with Dr. Kirsty Martin, senior lecturer in English Literature at the University of Exeter.

The discussion will consider how Chanya Button’s film portrays the two main characters and their relationship, in connection with Kirsty’s own research into Virginia Woolf, as seen in her first book, Modernism and the Rhythms of Sympathy.

Dartington and the Bloomsbury group

The event will also provide an opportunity for attendees to learn more about Dartington’s connections with the Bloomsbury group, and the founders of the Dartington experiment, Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, and the Arts department there.

The Q&A will be hosted by The Dartington Hall Trust’s Arts Correspondent, William Kemp, who before joining Dartington worked at Charleston in Sussex, the home of Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Read Full Post »

“Vita and Virginia,” the much-anticipated Chanya Button film about the love affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West is playing in London, and I saw it yesterday.

It has opened to mixed reviews. But if you are a fan of Virginia Woolf — as I obviously am — it is a must-see.

Scenery, sets, and superb fashion

As Sarah Hall put it in a message to VWoolf ListServ, “In films or plays about real people you get used to the departures from reality, so I made a determined effort to ignore these and enjoyed the scenery and the costumes and, frankly, the well-recreated sets (all except Knole, which is gloriously real).”

I agree. The sets look wonderfully authentic. The scenes that take place at Charleston look like Charleston, down to the painted doorways and decorated mantelpieces. The room where the Hogarth Press was housed looks just as I imagined it — although Stuart Clarke of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain said a press such as the Woolfs owned would not have sounded like the one in the film. But film needs sound, so the producers added the clanking of machinery as the pages of Jacob’s Room (1922) are shown coming off the press.

The costumes are fabulous — although I did wonder if Vita’s actual wardrobe was as glamorous as the film portrayed. But movies are expected to be a treat for the eyes, and this one succeeded at that, with the sets, the scenery, and the costumes.

The words don’t fail but the pacing plods

Since it was based on the eponymous play by Eileen Atkins, which was based on the letters that Vita and Virginia wrote each other, I also appreciated hearing the words of those two writers as much of the film’s dialogue.

But where the words succeed, the pacing plods. Even for a Woolf lover, the film is slow.

And there are a number of scenes — from the party scene where one first encounters Virginia to the love scenes in Vita’s bed — where I shook my head in disbelief. No, Virginia would not have danced around like a Grateful Dead groupie at any party, I thought. And no, I thought, Virginia never experienced sexual fulfillment via Vita. Did she?

Sarah Hall also had this criticism, “What didn’t make dramatic sense is to have Vita’s mother in residence at Knole instead of her father (who doesn’t appear and isn’t even mentioned). If Lionel is meant to be prematurely deceased, why hasn’t Knole been bestowed on a male heir?”

The casting is questionable

However, the casting may be my main complaint. After two casting changes for the role of Virginia, the film stars Gemma Arterton as Vita and Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia. Neither really works. In my opinion, Arterton is too cute and feminine to play the outdoorsy Vita. Debicki is absolutely too tall; she towers over the petite Arterton in too many scenes, which put me off.

Peter Ferdinando works well as Leonard and portrays him as a sympathetic character, which suits me. But Adam Gilles is wrong on every count as Duncan Grant. I had to wonder why they didn’t cast the beautiful James Norton, who made the perfect Duncan in Life in Squares.

Despite complaints, I recommend the film to anyone who cares about Virginia Woolf, Vita, and the Bloomsbury group. Apparently, many agree. On its opening weekend, July 4-7, the film made £49,223 showing in 63 cinemas.

The film opens in the U.S. in October.

 

Read Full Post »

From the release of details about the film in 2015 to cast selection in the winter of 2017 to additional preparations made later that year, Blogging Woolf has kept readers informed about Vita and Virginia, the new film telling the love story of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

Now that Chanya Button’s UK-Ireland feature film is about to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow, we have an update that includes the brief official trailer and a review link.

I imagine that most readers of Woolf are eager to see the film, which stars Elizabeth Debicki as Woolf and Gemma Arterton as Sackville-West. Arterton also served as the movie’s executive producer. And although I don’t know when it will be available in theaters, I am already enjoying this quote from the trailer:

Independence has no sex.

The Toronto Review wrote a negative review, stating that the film “attempts to manufacture chemistry by regurgitating chunks of the letters that Vita and Virginia wrote to each other.”

I guess we’ll have to wait until we see it ourselves before we can decide whether the film does more than that. I, for one, am hopeful that it does justice to both women.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: