Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Return of the Itinerant Blogger

This post marks the triumphant return of the travel blog! I’m writing this on the plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, on my way to Boston to attend Mount Holyoke Reunions, and I am beyond excited. To add to my general euphoria, I have Pringles, and even more excitingly, Les Miserables! Last time I watched this was right before York Indoors, the tournament I organised back in January, with two of my favourite Frisbee friends, so it has some pretty brilliant memories. And you know, it’s just a fantastic film, anyone who has seen my DVD collection knows of my extreme attachment to film versions of musicals.

Possibly this isn’t the best film to watch while in a public sphere, my overwhelming urge is to sing and dance and sing along. Plus every time there’s a really good chord I get this absurd grinny grin. I feel bad for the poor girl sitting next to me.

I feel like this is a particularly good film version, they’ve done some really interesting things with the class in the film, particularly when considering the use of regional accents for much of the chorus, for example the men in the chain gangs, the women working in the factory, and the prostitutes, as well as some of the revolutionaries. Gaavroche is also an interesting case, he is able to move through different worlds, for example when he climbs through the carriages of the rich in his introductory scene, but he is also party to information about Javert and so on.

Personally I don’t really have a massive problem with some of the more, well, raw performances, particularly from Russel Crowe, which seem to annoy others. I feel as though Javert has a lot of rough edges so it kind of works with his character. Particularly in the Stars song, which I think is one which bothers most people. The internal struggle of the character in this scene I think is beautifully captured by Crowe, and I don’t suppose Javert would have been overly concerned at this stage with correct diaphragm support. But then I suppose Stars isn’t one of my favourite from the musical, and I feel like the emotion was captured and that’s the important thing for me.

What does bother me, much more than everyone else in the world, apparently, is Anne  Hathaway as Fantine. Granted, she’s absolutely beautiful, and her singing is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a dream. Her performance in I Dreamed a Dream is almost flawless, I love the way the way the shot is framed makes it look as though she’s lying in a coffin (coffins are used in really interesting ways throughout the film), which really speaks to the line “don’t they know they’re making love to one already dead,” not to mention the sleep as death trope which persists throughout the musical. However, there is a but, and for me it is a big but, I still think Fantine should be blonde. There I said it. I’m just a massive fan of the fallen angel motif seen in post-realist fiction, and Victor Hugo really does do the best job of making the most of it; the idea that Fantine’s only dowry is the gold in her hair and the pearls in her teeth. Which kind of makes the whole thing come together, why do they have to take Anne Hathaway’s hair when it’s not even gold? Eh?  

Amanda Seyfried, however, is very very blonde. And goodness me can she sing high. I approve.

In the interests of honesty I should probably point out at this stage that I watched I Dreamed a Dream 4 times in a row. And it’s blinking brilliant. But it would be infinitely better if Anne Hathaway were blonde. Just sayin’.

I also watched the end of Who Am I? about 6 times, because it is my favourite. And I enjoyed the last chord. Every. Single. Time.

Sadly, my screen is a little dodgy, since part of having the fancy seat with all the leg room is having a fold out tv screen, and I think there must be a bit of a dodgy connection. It also means I get to be up close and personal with all the crying babies (there are three), but luckily one of them is the cutest little thing I have ever seen.

(Incidentally, I was reading about the Vietnam war, while listening to Les Mis, since my screen wasn’t working, and it’s oddly fitting. Also highly distressing.)

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