Thursday, November 01, 2012

Re-reading it













And what a difference 35 years makes. I was a schoolgirl in love with this book but now, NOW...

And the movie is the best I've seen. LOVE TO LOVE.

24 comments:

little hat said...

I read Wuthering Heights at my all boys school in 1967. I fell in love with the madness and the passion Heathcliffe's brooding presence. I never reread books though.

Lily Brett's Lola Bansky was a mixed read for me. It was my first foray into Lily Brett and only triggered by my Avid Reader Bookshop Australian Bookclub. I finished reading "Pig City" at the same time (a factual account of the politics and music of Brisbane in the 70's 80s and 90s). I felt engaged with the jewishness of the Bensky character but her drive-by relationship with the musicians of the 60s didn't uite work for me. I was more excited by the dash and daring of the Brisband bands of the era even thogh I seemed to have missed many of them (Saints, Gangajang, Pineapples from the Dawn of Time. I was a late convert to the Go Betweens even though I was at Uni with their drummer Lindy Morrisson. My turn to drop names.

Melba said...

You never re-read books, little hat? Never? There are so few sublime books in the world, ones that talk to you on that special, personal level I reckon. You HAVE to revisit, and for me I'm thrilled to go back and see Cathy and Heathcliff. Watching the recent movie version has spurred me to get going with it. The movie was wonderful.

Melba said...
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Alex said...

So, would you recommend the movie to someone who has never seen or read any version of the story whatsoever? Or would you recommend reading first?

I saw two movies today myself. My recommendations: (1) Don't pay full price to see 'Safety Not Guaranteed'. I like this type of movie, but I didn't think this one was very good, and I have no clue why it's getting such good reviews. (2) If you like action films and aren't squeamish, go see Dredd 3D (in 3D). It was one of the best English language action flicks I've seen since the '80s, and I could probably rant for ages about the possible reasons why critics far and wide are lining up to crap all over it (pssst, it uses subtlety and subtext).

Melba said...

Hmm interesting Alex re Dredd3D but I really can't see myself going to be honest. Can't stand 3D - it's really that good?

On WH - hmmm. I don't know, would like to know what you think BUT the story is probably best understood by reading the book. The book is better of course but the movie is so beautiful. It would actually be novel to see the movie and see what you made of it. I don't know, up to you.

Alex said...

Checking session times, I think I might've missed my chance to see Cathy and Heathcliff on the big screen anyway. Bugger.

If you don't like action movies, Dredd isn't going to sway you; but if you liked stuff like "The Warriors" and "Assault On Precinct 13", then yeah, I think it's that good.

At its core, it's a very small, simple story. No one is stopping a bomb from blowing up a city or preventing a virus from wiping out mankind. It's two cops (grizzled veteran and first-day rookie) trapped in a slum with some gang members. Each side needs to kill the other. Both are fighting for survival. A handful of characters in one location, with no distractions or side stories.

However, on top there's a mountain of subtext about modern society; socioeconomics, crime, poverty, justice, law enforcement, etc, etc; but ... none of it articulated or speechified or waved in the audience faces in an obvious manner. You have to notice it. There's very little dialogue, very little character development, and some very graphic violence. At no point does either party show regret, remorse, pity or doubt. But when the last gang member is dispatched in the inevitable final showdown, there's no satisfaction or righteousness. Just a sense of watching two animals set against each other by a system sick to its core.

Also, I'm not usually into 3D either, but part of the story involves a drug that fucks with people's minds and a character with psychic powers who also fucks with people's minds and the 3D is kind of integral to showing that off. It isn't a perfect movie. There's changes I would have made. But yeah, I liked it a lot.

Alex said...

My thoughts on Wuthering Heights (movie): aggravating.

Stuff I liked:
1) The basic story. I loves me a good tragedy.
2) It was really bleak and grimy. Total opposite of the prim and pastel thing I expected.
3) The audio. I thought it was going to be endless 'read between the lines' repartee. Nope. What little dialogue there was was terse and real (though I felt like I needed subtitles at times).
3b) No music. I think a lot of movies these days are over-scored. Not this one.

Stuff I didn't:
1) It felt more like a tease, or a compliment, then a self contained thing. I wanted to get to know all the characters more (especially Isabella. I really warmed up to her). The whole thing felt sort of distant and, I dunno, abridged? Less epic and emotional than what I imagined. And it ended kinda weird.
2) The visuals. I thought it was really strange that they decided to film it in standard aspect, considering that even all the tellies these days are widescreen. I felt like the surroundings should have been a bigger part of the feel of the movie; except they'd been cropped off the bloody sides.
2b) The hand-held camera. I felt it actively worked against the atmosphere of the film. At one point I actually yelled out "Hold the fuckin' camera steady!" which was okay, since I was the only person there.

So, what say you Melbs? Given the bits I liked and didn't like, you reckon it'd be worth goin' the book? Would I get more Isabella?

Melba said...

Good comments Alex. It was SO abridged. In the book you get so much more of everyone, including Isabella. The hand-held, I agree, it was annoying. And your second point about 'standard aspect' - you lost me there, I don't know what you're talking about. Was it narrow rather than wide? I didn't notice it if that's what you were talking about.

Read the book. It's not easy but it fills in so much. I'm in the second half now, am loving it even more as an adult AND having weird fantasies of a tv mini-series, beautifully done with perfect child Heathcliff and Cathy and perfect adult H and C (and other characters) and with it adhering to the narrative of the book. It would be tricky but we could do it (you and me!!)

Maybe I should watch some of the old ones but I don't know that any get it all in (let's face it, very few movie adaptations are close to the books because of length and breadth limitations.)

Would love you to read it and to know what you think. The POVs are a bit confusing at times, esp at teh beginning, but then you get into it and it's fabulous.

I'm amused by your interest in Isabella of all people but won't say more in case you do read. We could discuss after...

Melba said...

Good comments Alex. It was SO abridged. In the book you get so much more of everyone, including Isabella. The hand-held, I agree, it was annoying. And your second point about 'standard aspect' - you lost me there, I don't know what you're talking about. Was it narrow rather than wide? I didn't notice it if that's what you were talking about.

Read the book. It's not easy but it fills in so much. I'm in the second half now, am loving it even more as an adult AND having weird fantasies of a tv mini-series, beautifully done with perfect child Heathcliff and Cathy and perfect adult H and C (and other characters) and with it adhering to the narrative of the book. It would be tricky but we could do it (you and me!!)

Maybe I should watch some of the old ones but I don't know that any get it all in (let's face it, very few movie adaptations are close to the books because of length and breadth limitations.)

Would love you to read it and to know what you think. The POVs are a bit confusing at times, esp at teh beginning, but then you get into it and it's fabulous.

I'm amused by your interest in Isabella of all people but won't say more in case you do read. We could discuss after...

Alex said...

Yeah, pretty much I meant the picture was narrower than I expected.

Standard aspect ratio (4:3 (1:1.33r)(width:height)) is what all the old tellies used to be before they went widescreen (16:9 (1:1.77r)). My understanding of history is that originally all motion picture was shot in standard (4:3); then when television came along, cinema owners (movie producers (production companies owned the cinemas in those days)) freaked the fuck out and decided they needed a gimmick that people couldn't replicate at home. There was a whole bunch of different technologies tried out, many of them involving different types of screens (multi-screen, curvy screen), most of them ending in "vision" or "scope", and eventually they just settled on making the screen wider. Limits in analogue signal technology meant that tellies couldn't really follow suit until the digital revolution; but now, pretty much everything is filmed in 16:9 or wider.

I know some people absolutely hate anything that isn't widescreen, the same way they hate black and white. Personally, I've got nothing against standard (and sometimes prefer it as a stylistic choice (same with black and white)) but it seemed to me like a bad choice for this film. Just like the hand-held (which I also like in movies where I think it's appropriate)).

I've downloaded my copy of the book (you know about Project Gutenberg, right?) Will probably start in the next week or so.

Melba said...

Hey I know about PG so I guess you use an e-reader (we've talked about this before).

Well, let me know how it goes.

And btw, you know so much 'stuff' I find it amazing. I feel I know so little 'stuff' - you have a really broad knowledge. It's great.

Alex said...

If I ever snagged a magic lamp or cursed monkey paw, "knowing everything" is the one thing I know I couldn't resist asking for. I've even doodled a rough plan for a story about a woman gets that very wish. I reckon you'd have to be careful, 'cause all that knowledge would make you a threat to some pretty powerful entities.

But, to put things into perspective, I know about aspect ratios because I've worked with videographers. The historical stuff, I've read or heard in docos or been told about, but since I've never done serious research into it, I can't be certain how accurate it all is. And that's the case for a lot of the stuff I "know". Plus, there's always the chance that I've misunderstood or misremembered something. So, in other words, don't use me as a primary source for anything important.

I've always been fascinated by science and tech and tinkering with stuff and finding out how stuff works (and it's basically what I do) so I know a few things about that (I know that's meant to be a "boy thing", but I call complete and utter bullshit on that (more women in science; more women in tech, I say)). I've only been interested in history, politics and economics for a few years, so my knowledge of that is basic at best. I'm always blown away by Ramon and Mr E. And you're the one I think of as the expert on literature stuff (I should ask you to write me a list of the best reads of all time, so I can work my way through it).

Melba said...

I remember when I thought you were a boy, for quite a while, because of the science knowledge/interest. Remember that? I wasn't the only one so it just goes to show how that stereotyped thinking can be so insidious.

Please don't think of me as a lit expert!! I'm not so widely read, and while I know what I do and don't like, I have trouble articulating it with any sort of sophistication. A list of the best reads of all time would vary from person to person.

Alex said...

Well, I still wouldn't mind checking out your best reads of all time. If you decide you want to and you have time. I wouldn't bother trying to rank them or anything (I don't order my favourites. It's not how my brain works). Just some titles and authors. Either way, I'll probably be reading Wuthering for the next few weeks.

I think the worst part of those nasty stereotypes is that people project them onto their children and then girls grow up not wanting anything to do with that "boy stuff".

A while back, I was talking to this bloke who'd had a baby girl and then gone through a few years battling cancer. He looked fine, but apparently a good chunk of his insides had been taken out and replaced with tubes and other artificial do-dads (I'm not sure why, but this detail seems important to the story). He was telling me about how at first he was disappointed his first and most probably only child was a girl, because there was all this "boy stuff" he wouldn't be able to do with her. But then he'd been amazed to find that she could do all that "boy stuff" on top of all the "girl stuff", and that made her better than a son.

I wanted to say "I can't believe you were such a dickhead and I'm glad you're not so much anymore", but he seemed nice, and I didn't want to be rude. But yes, those stereotypes can be insidious.

Melba said...

Yeah this boy stuff and girl stuff - probably a good thing that people like him have children and then they can maybe transform a little. My daughter's always been into science and the natural world and animal/plant stuff. It's about what interests and suits them but if they're not exposed to a range of stuff that doesn't follow gender lines - that crosses them - then they won't know what it IS they like or are good at.

I'll start thinking about a best reads list... WH is definitely top 10.

Alex said...

I thought it was a little strange -- your concluding I was a bloke -- when there were people like Squib on TSFKA (I don't know what Squib does, but if I had to guess, I would say science teacher); and now I find out your daughter's had a long term interest in science and nature.

... hmmm ...

I'm just kidding around, but I guess it does kind of show how persistent these things are.

Melba said...

I wasn't the only one, others thought you were a dude as well. To be fair, now that I think about it, it was more your mentions of getting into fights when you were younger that made me think you were a guy. And you'd mentioned physical fights, it was that more than the science thing. The science/tech knowledge kind of cemented the notion.

I hope you weren't offended.

squib's a POET! Though whether she does anything else, I'm not sure. I wish she was around more. I miss Persey too. Heaps.

Alex said...

... and Puss ... and Boogey ... and Bob ... and ...

No offence taken whatsoever. Like I say, I'm just kidding around.

From my own personal experience, I agree that young men fight more than young women, but I also think a lot of people underestimate the amount of female violence out there, especially girl on girl violence (girl on guy violence is rarer, but I've seen a bit. I've mentioned this on TSFKA before, but I knew two sisters who were full blown rapists). In fact, I remember hearing a news report three or four years ago stating that the number of female "glassings" had surpassed that of males. On the other hand, I think that report might have been on Ch7, so it was probably bullshit. It might be a bit of a social/economic/geographic thing too, or depend on the types of pubs you go to, so I guess there's a lot of people who might've never been exposed to it.

What was it like for you when you were younger?

Melba said...
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Melba said...

Female violence is a problem now, I think there are stats on young women and street violence. There have always been the 'bitch fights' but when I was younger, I wasn't around any of that, not even outright verballing between girls. I think it is a socio-economic thing, maybe locational.

As an older sister, as a kid, I was pretty physical with my brother. We used to wrestle and he'd get angry; as soon as he got big enough to be as strong as me I found other ways to needle him. I never hit my sister but was pretty mean to her (never hit my brother either, but there was some pushing and shoving I think and throwing things at each other, like maybe cushions? Oh we were so tough.)

So the female rapists, can you refresh my memory? Or is that for an email?

Alex said...

Nah, I won't get into identifiable info, so it should be fine.

So, in one of the little towns I lived in, there were these two sisters who shared a house together. Big strong women with years of fruit-picking and drunken violence under their belts. I think it's important to remember that when this stuff is cultural, almost every perpetrator has been a victim at some point, and when I think about it, the reason they did everything together was probably as much about protection as it was getting away with things.

Anyway, you gotta remember that it was a small town, so everyone knew everyone. They didn't pick victims at random, but blokes they knew they'd have a physical advantage over. They'd come onto or proposition a bloke, and if he was into it, it'd turn into a regular threesome (although some of those reportedly turned violent too). If the bloke wasn't into it, they'd get aggressive, and if they couldn't intimidate him into sex, they'd kick the shit out of him. At least one bloke they put in the hospital; the rumour was that he was unconscious for a couple of days.

I don't know about other people, but to me, using a very real threat of violence to make someone have sex with you is pretty clearly rape. Of course, victims had nothing but ridicule to look forward to if they got their arses kicked by a pair of women, and complaining about being forced to have sex was even more laughable.

I can't imagine things are great now in that regard, but they were terrible in those days. I remember when I was older and first heard about "date rape", I struggled to get my head around it. If something happened to you when you were pissed, not only was it your own problem, but it was usually shaaaaame. God that word got thrown around. "That's shame. That's so shame. You're fuckin' shame.". Do the youngsters still say that to each other, I wonder?

Melba said...

Wow I don't remember that story. I don't know what the youngsters say to each other these days but I know my daughter has respect for girls who have sex or hook up with guys because they want to and like it and say so and aren't ashamed by it; she was telling me today that she was talking to a girl in her year level who wasn't proud, wasn't ashamed, was just matter-of-fact about being sexual and my girl thought that was alright. But most females are very into controlling other females, at whatever age. If you don't 'behave' you get shunned or bitched about or there is some social consequence. I've talked about this before, I don't see how it can change but maybe it's a case of individuals can fight it and separate themselves from it but most won't - a lot of people are unthinking drones?

Alex said...

At the end of the day, it's all about power and control, isn't it? Whether it's punching someone out or ostracising them, a drug cartel executing journalists, a politician selling their soul, or some religious nutter [fill in the blank]. Big or little, they're all expressions of the same human desire, aren't they?

I wonder what society would be like if there were no drones? Would it still function the way it does now, or does the whole system depend on the condition that there will be many followers?

Melba said...

Yes it does. There have to be drones, don't you think? It depends on people to make it all work, people who won't question and cause ruckuses.