last night i was half dozing on the couch after a long day, Anton was flipping through the channels, and somehow we got sucked into watching Anchorman 2. which is probably one of the silliest movies ever created. it’s pretty funny, even hilarious in parts, but what i loved the most was the 70s styling & costume design – especially the outfits that Veronica Corningstone wears.
i was faced with a conundrum when Outlander, the famous series of books Diana Gabaldon began writing 20 years ago, was turned into a TV show – because i hadn’t read them and i have always wanted to. i was saving it for one of those holidays where you devour 5 books in a week while lying on the beach and in between afternoon naps. but i can’t resist a good period drama, especially a steamy one at that.
last night i was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel as part of the Design Indaba Film Festival. now, i must admit that i was pretty disappointed by his last film Moonrise Kingdom, so i didn’t get too psyched about this one. in fact, the trailer made me doubt the film just a little bit (another reason not to watch trailers, ever!) so i went in pretty excited – because it IS Wes Anderson after all – but wasn’t about to get my hopes up.
and now i can tell you: this is his BEST movie since The Royal Tenenbaums (one of my favourite films ever). in my humble opinion, of course. it is absolutely beautiful to watch, i don’t think that any of his films has impressed me as much on a visual scale. the setting is unique. the story is just wonderful, and i was actually on the edge of my seat at many moments as it unfolded (what’s going to happen!) the actors are brilliantly cast: Ralph Fiennes made me forget that he was ever Voldemort. Tony Revelori is a delight, Willem Dafoe is menacing, Tilda Swinton is unrecognisable, Jeff Golblum is Jeff Golblum. but above all, it’s dark in parts – so dark in fact that i was quite surprised. some moments elicited audible gasps from the audience.
i walked out grinning from ear to ear, and i wanted to watch it again. again, again! that hasn’t happened in a while. so, go see it when it comes out near you. it is releasing in the US on 7 March and in SA on 20 March.
i just want you to please watch this short film.
Pounding the tarmac through the seasons, a band of runners are brazenly challenged with intimate questions as they pace their routes. Liberated from responsibilities, their guards drop dramatically, releasing funny and brutally frank confessions, and weaving a powerful narrative behind the anonymous masses. A film by Matan Rochlitz & Ivo Gormley.
if there is one movie that i have watched countless times, it is French Kiss. i first saw it back in 1995 when i was 12 years old, and i didn’t even know that Kevin Kline wasn’t really French (i would later discover him in A Fish Called Wanda and come to understand how awesome he is). i don’t know what it is about the movie that appeals to me so much, but it has just stayed in my heart and i can still quote it backwards. i also appreciate Meg Ryan’s mannish wardrobe and perfect 90s pixie crop (remember when she used to have the most enviable hair in Hollywood?) if you’re one of the few people out there who also love this movie, then welcome to the French Kiss Appreciation Club.
i felt like these deserved a re-post! you see, i have been going through my archives and i rediscovered these Period Drama vs Street Style colour comparisons that I did way back in 2011 for Hila (you can see the original posts here and here). i never actually posted them all here so i thought i’d share. and, damn, i did pretty well if i do say so myself! Hila and I share a great appreciation for period dramas, she even wrote a book about screen adaptations of classic literature. she also wrote this marvellous post for me in 2012 about the locations of some of her favourite period films.
i haven’t watched a really awesome period drama in a long time. i sort of dabbled in Mr. Selfridge which i found average at best, and completely gave up on Downton Abbey (they really should have stopped while they were ahead). i have also heard of The Paradise, but i haven’t watched it yet. any period movies / series you can recommend?
The Piano // Street Peeper
Marie Antoinette // Peter Stigter
Atonement // Citizen Couture
Cranford // Mr. Newton
Downton Abbey // Vanessa Jackman
Sense & Sensibility // Style Sightings
Emma // Facehunter
Pride & Prejudice // Citizen Couture
Brideshead Revisited // Citizen Couture
King’s Speech // Refinery 29
The Duchess // Café Mode
Shakespeare in Love // Café Mode
Upstairs Downstairs // The Locals
Out of Africa // Sartorialist
Lark Rise to Candleford // Jou Jou Villeroy
Little Women // NY mag
Cold Mountain // Vanessa Jackman
Boardwalk Empire // All the Pretty Birds
if there is one movie you need to see right now, it is Her. i knew the vague premise of the film before i watched it, i might even have been a little skeptical, but i chose not to watch any trailers or read anything about it before viewing. that is why i’m not going to tell you anything about the story or give you my opinion on the characters or what develops – i just want you to watch it. Her is visually stunning, the art direction and styling is wonderful. it is just an absolute joy for the eyeballs. go see it!
all images from Her written & directed by Spike Jonze
Green Renaissance is a film production company based in Cape Town that specialises in green content creation – helping environmentally conscious organisations to develop creative content that promotes green and conservation initiatives. they have released some really sweet little films that encourage people to be green at home.
i especially loved the story about Gary ‘The Mushroom Guy‘ who started picking & eating wild mushrooms on his walks in the forest after suffering a heart attack. eventually he started growing his own shiitake mushrooms at home – and he shows you how you can also do it using a log and some mushroom spores. they also collaborated with Marisa from Opus, who all Capetonians will know for her gorgeous plant creations – she shows you how you can make your own hanging plant at home.
also check out how to make your own home made cleaner using lemons, using recycled tyres to grow artichokes, making real vitamin water, and picking & roasting wild chestnuts. explore all their clips on vimeo.
so, did you watch it? did you? i don’t normally host reviews / discussions on here, but i am DYING to talk about Mad Men! spoilers within, you can access the full post after this rare image of don smiling (it’s like looking into the sun)
edit: to all the French readers, i know that it’s actually zou bisous bisous – the title is just a bit of fun…
as i mentioned in my post a week ago Mariah blogs over at Quite Continental, and i was thrilled when she sent me this post because one of my favourite things to delve into at her blog are stories of great loves – you also need to read her post about Winston Churchill & Clementine Hozier.
In February, my mind frequently turns to great love stories: stories of grand gestures, of passions that burned brightly and then out, of couples that stayed together for years, of couples that could not live without each other. Coincidentally, I finally saw L’amour Fou this month, a documentary detailing the 50 year relationship of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, and the record-breaking auction of their massive collection of art and objet d’art that ultimately totaled €342m in sales.
A heart-breaking, quietly mournful story, you easily glean a sense of how hard a man Saint Laurent was to love and the fact that Bergé never stopped loving him. At the time of Saint Laurent’s death, the two had actually been separated for some years, but married a few days prior to Saint Laurent’s passing, in a final symbolic gesture of their relationship: Bergé would be left to handle the tidying up the details of their long partnership and life together.
“I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.
I don’t know how to say good-bye because I can never leave you. We will never watch a sunset together again. We will never share the emotions together before a painting again. Someday I will join you under the palm trees of Morocco.
I want to tell you my admiration, my profound respect and my love.”
– Bergé at the funeral of Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent became an apprentice to Christian Dior at the age of 18, and became the head of the fashion house at the age of 21 when Dior suddenly died in 1958. In 1960, Saint Laurent and Bergé founded the fashion house that bears the Saint Laurent’s name, which is where he would design his tuxedo or “Le Smoking” for women and many memorable collections. But by 1976, Saint Laurent and Bergé had ended their romantic relationship. Remarkably, they remained business partners and close friends.
One of their most special places can be found in Marrakesh, Morocco: the Jardin Majorelle. A botanical garden that dates back to the colonial period when Morocco was a protectorate of France in the 1920s, it was designed by French expat Jacques Majorelle and was a favorite place of Bergé and Saint Laurent. Open to the public since 1947, when the garden was in danger of being purchased and converted into a hotel in 1980, Bergé and Saint Laurent simply purchased it so that it could remain a public place. Their foundation maintains it to this day. After his death, Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in their beloved garden. Bergé will one day join him.
L’amour Fou is an exceptionally well-done documentary that examines one of the greatest names in modern fashion through the eyes of the man who loved him fiercely in life and now mourns him quietly in death. It traces their relationship from the first painting they bought together to their first trip to Morocco to the last fall of the auctioneer’s gavel. I cannot recommend it enough and I hope one day soon I will walk through their bright blue garden in Morocco.
man oh man, when Hila sent me this guest post i actually squealed like a little girl. one of my favourite things about her blog is when she talks about films, and quite a few of those are period dramas. we have actually done a couple of comparisons projects that fall into this category, so we are kindred spirits when it comes to our love for a good costume drama. plus who wouldn’t enjoy getting another look at colin firth as darcy?
Hello, I’m Hila from the blog, le projet d’amour. When Diana asked me to contribute a guest post, I wanted to compile a special one to thank her for her own fabulous guest posts on my blog last year. When I asked her to do these posts, I was in the middle of writing my book (and very, very stressed). I recently finished this book and sent it off to my publisher. A few days later, I started getting all sentimental about the process of researching and writing the book. So I thought it would be nice to share one of the loveliest aspects of my research here.
My book is on film and television adaptations of famous literature. Along the way, I’ve delved into the various locations where these period and costume dramas were shot. Here are a few of my favourite locations …
In Joe Wright’s 2005 version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Darcy dramatically proposes to Lizzie in the grand Temple of Apollo in Stourhead Garden. This shooting location seems like a good nod to the Regency period in which Austen’s novels were originally set, because neo-classical buildings such as this one were quite popular during this time. Austen’s society had a bit of a craze for the style, architecture and fashion of ancient Greece and Rome, and many Regency buildings imitated ancient classical temples.
The latest 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga was partly filmed at Haddon Hall, which served as the setting for Rochester’s family home in the book, Thornfield Hall. There were many, many other period dramas filmed in Haddon Hall, including Elizabeth (1999), Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996) and the BBC’s 2006 production of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. I personally think though that Fukunaga made the best use of the impressive space of Haddon Hall to highlight the original Gothic undertones of Brontë’s novel.
Lyme Park is the famous location for Darcy’s heart-stopping lake swim in the BBC’s 1995 television serial of Pride and Prejudice. I think we can all agree that this lake scene with Colin Firth will go down in history as one of the best moments in period drama. They just don’t make sexy British repression like they used to.
Saltram House is the shooting location for Norland Park in Ang Lee’s version of Sense and Sensibility (1995). This is my favourite adaptation of the novel, and Saltram House seems to encapsulate the Regency’s ‘Era of Elegance’ with its cool white exterior, harmonious architecture and perfectly manicured grounds. And while we’re speaking of Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, you really have to go read these hilarious extracts from Emma Thompson’s personal diaries while shooting the film. You can thank me later.
Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle was one of my favourite novels when I was growing up. When it was turned into a film in 2001 by Tim Fywell, I was instantly smitten yet again. The eccentric Mortmain family’s castle home is set in Manorbier Castle in Wales, although many of the interior scenes were shot elsewhere. But there is a unique romance to the rugged exterior scenes and crumbling castle.
Nearly every single film and television version of Emily Brontë’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, features sweeping shots of the Yorkshire moors. Although the moors cover vast areas of England, when most people refer to ‘the moors’ they’re usually speaking about the landscape known as ‘Brontë country’ in West Yorkshire, England. I was lucky enough to visit the village where the Brontës lived and wrote for my research, staying in a house that was the former residence of their doctor. It was just lovely (but cold!).
Agnieszka Holland’s beautiful adaptation of The Secret Garden (1993) was filmed on location at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. I remember reading The Secret Garden when I was younger, loving all the small details about plant life and the natural environment. I think Holland’s film homage to the novel is a loving and sumptuous visual interpretation of such passages in the book.
I hope you enjoyed my mini period and costume dramas tour!
All images are screen-grabs made by me from the following films and serials (top to bottom): Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, I Capture the Castle, Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden.