Tuesday 19 August 2008

Hammershoi and Firelight

The Hammershoi exhibition has really stayed with me. I suppose when you go see an exhibition at somewhere like the Royal Academy you often go because you already know about an artist they are exhibiting and like their work.

However in this case I didn't know of Hammershoi but the poster on the tube really struck a chord and I wanted to see more. I suppose discovering work I had never seen before up close as oils on canvas for the first time rather than in a book is really much better and that is part of the reason I am a bit obsessed.

I also think the fact that in the majority of the house studies we see the lady from the back keeps the intrigue up as Michael Plain suggests. Plus there is the fact that the paintings are beautiful and the interiors make me want to paint everything dove grey and to be much more minimalist.

Anyway I have been thinking how like the Hammershois the interiors and light of a little film called Firelight are. Which leads me on to the film itself. I happened upon Firelight when I was looking up some period dramas on amazon, seeing that Sophie Marceau and Stephen Dillane were the leads I was intrigued. The story also sounded strange but very interesting and not unlike Jane Eyre (which all comments on this film note), which is a certain favourite of mine. So I did something unusual for me and just clicked 'buy' not wishlist, not think about it for a while 'buy'.

The film has an unusual premise but I really enjoyed it, I don't want to spoil it but you can read the plot here if you want to. I was really gripped by both the film itself and the incredibly spare but beautiful set dressing and interiors. This was partiucularly true of the upper, servants quarters type part of the house where everything is shown in muted tones of dove grey and charcoal or ebony with accents of white and some occasional shots of colour on China or paintings. The costumes were also very spare and almost puritanically plain. Now I can't stop thinking how like the Hammershois some of the upstairs interiors scenes were and wanting to check if I remeber correctly.

My dvd is, of course, on an extended loan 400 miles away. So I have done some internet searching but I can't find pictures of the scenes I'm thinking of with the little girl and the governess in the teaching room and of the governess' quarters.

These are the best stills I could find from the film.

Picture 1: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/141/371081092_c09e41b27f.jpg?v=0

Picture 2:http://www.citypaper.net/articles/100898/gifpics/movies1.GIF

Small film stills: http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Movies/9809/04/review.firelight/index.html


Rose said...

Hi Rohit,
Thank- you very much! *blushes* I'm glad you like the blog. I will have a look at yours as well.

Hope to see you again soon

Unknown said...

With someone as beautiful as Sophie Marceau, it is easy to pull off spare. I am assuming you must have seen the last Jane Eyre; which I loved, it is interesting watching the spare Jane compared to all the rest and how by making her spare in appearence it makes her all the more noticable for Rochester.

Rose said...

It's true Sophie Marceau would look good in a sack!

Yes I did see that version and thought it was virtually perfect. It's true they used costume very well to compliment Jane's character and to sort of reverse highlight her in the group scenes.
Funnily enough the actress who played Jane is from a town about five minutes from my childhood home in Surrey.

Starheart said...

Hi, I've also seen Firelight and enjoyed it. The colours are well used aren't they? It's hard finding anyone who has seen this gem of a movie, i don't think it did well at the cinemas.

I think there are lots of interesting ideas in the movie like surrogacy in the 19th century, debt and ethics, duty vs desire but above all this movie does smoulder well!