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Thursday 1st November
Mary Shelley (12A) 120 min. Biography/Drama/Romance TRAILER REVIEW
In the film’s opening shot a young Mary Godwin sits on the ground against the gravestone of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, reading a Gothic novel. From there, we will learn that Mary looks like her mother and feels connected to her mother through her writing (in one scene holding A Vindication of the Rights of Woman). The film depicts Mary Shelley as a woman author of fierce independence and ambition, confronting and overcoming the obstacles of a man’s world of writing, learning, publishing, and entitlement both social and sexual.
During the rainy summer of 1816 Mary, then only 18, and her lover (and later husband) Percy Bysshe Shelley visited Lord Byron in Switzerland. To pass the time, Byron suggested a competition to write a ghost story and a dream in which a corpse was reanimated gave Mary her idea for the book.
Frankenstein, the film proposes, was Mary’s stinging commentary on a world where young women such as she and her stepsister Claire Clairmont are discounted. As Claire says through tears after copying the manuscript of Frankenstein, she identified with the creature’s struggles and expected many more would, and so Mary “must” publish the novel.
When Percy has read the first draft, he proclaims its genius, but then wishes the creature to be “perfect,” an “angel,” to show humanity hope - a suggestion Mary refuses, replying that their lives are a mess, that she is a mess, which is reality.
Whether many people nowadays immediately make the link between Frankenstein and early feminism is doubtful but this early nineteenth century novel is considered to be a landmark work of romantic and gothic literature, as well as science fiction (Wikipedia).
Thursday 6th December
The Happy Prince (15) 105 min Drama/Biography TRAILER REVIEW
Rupert Everett’s film of the last days of Oscar Wilde.
In a cheap Parisian hotel room Oscar Wilde lies on his deathbed and the past floods back, transporting him to other times and places. Was he once the most famous man in London? The artist crucified by a society that once worshipped him? The lover imprisoned and freed, yet still running towards ruin in the final chapter of his life? Under the microscope of death he reviews the failed attempt to reconcile with his long suffering wife Constance, the ensuing reprisal of his fatal love affair with Lord Alfred Douglas and the warmth and devotion of Robbie Ross who tried and failed to save him from himself. From Dieppe to Naples to Paris freedom is elusive and Oscar is a penniless vagabond, always moving on, shunned by his old acquaintance, but revered by a strange group of outlaws and urchins to whom he tells the old stories - his incomparable wit still sharp.
THE HAPPY PRINCE is a portrait of the dark side of a genius who lived and died for love in the last days of the nineteenth century.
No film in January but we will be back again in February 2019.