Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What Lies Beneath: Jane Eyre 2011

The other week I *finally* saw the new Jane Eyre film. 

I had blogged about it in advance, based on the photo below, which was so much more colourful that I could imagine a Jane Eyre film to be. 

After seeing the film, I decided that the director based much of his visuals on sly nods toward interpretations of the book.

For instance, after Jane refuses to go to India with St. John as his wife (one of my favourite lines from the novel is when she responds to his marriage proposal by begging him for mercy, not in the film, alas), she is next seen wearing her paisley shawl.  Paisley gets its name from Scotland, but its design comes from India.

So Jane externalizes India; she wears its fabric, but she will not enter it, as St. John's wife (a good thing).

As the classic Madwoman in the Attic reading of Jane Eyre is all about repression--what lies beneath the surface of, say, a Victorian woman's proper behaviour, or behind the door of a garrett--I noticed attention paid to hidden details.

Consider the beautiful blue--and optimistic--lining of this carriage, which transports Jane back to Thornfield.  You can see Jane's paisley shawl here too.


And Jane's own cape reveals a patterned lining as well, hinting at the complex interior of this famously "plain" governess.


Even the film poster, far above, shows Jane beneath her wedding veil (which was, curiously, not rent in two by Bertha Rochester).

I agree that it is a lovely and sensual surprise to discover pretty linings. One of my favourite ideas is to wallpaper the interior of a closet.

If we follow Jane Eyre's lead, then Cole and Son makes this large-scale paisley wallpaper:


But I really love a more primitive, Bloomsbury-esque look, like this hand-blocked wallpaper, found on Wikipedia, of all places:


And this peacock/paisley-ish wallpaper, Greta Jade from Villa Nova, would cheer me every time I opened my closet:


I would think that I were entering Jane Eyre's carriage.

8 comments:

coffeeaddict said...

What an insightful intrepretation! I enjoy reading your reflections.

Belle de Ville said...

Excellent post. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Jane Eyre and will now pay more attention to the details.
Last week I saw the old Masterpiece Theater version with Timothy Dalton. It was good but seemed a little dated.

Have you seen Daniel Deronda lately. I just rewatched it this week, thanks to netflix, and I was amazed by the costumes worn by Romola Garai in her role as Gwendolen. In her red and cream colored dress and jacket for the archery competion, she looks like one of cupid minions on a mission.

Miss Cavendish said...

I shall seek out Daniel D, as I now have some time to catch up on reading/movies! Thanks for the suggestion!

The Mighty J said...

Thank you for the great post - I am really curious to see the movie now even though I have never been a huge fan of Jane Eyre the novel.

Tricia said...

Thank you, a lovely and original interpretation, now I'm so looking forward to watching!

WendyB said...

Great observations!

aracne said...

I love your eye for details especially when you talk about textiles.

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