hila shachar

Period and Costume Dramas Tour

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 …

The Temple of Apollo, Stourhead Garden, Wiltshire, England

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.

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, England

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, Cheshire, England

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, Plymouth, Devon, England

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.

Manorbier Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

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.

The Moors, Yorkshire, England

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!).

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, England

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.

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The Comparisons Project: Cracks

Hila picked Cracks for our next comparisons project – a film I have been meaning to watch for ages but just never got round to. i actually find myself watching less and less films these days, as any available tv time is dedicated to my series addiction (cough game of thrones cough). so this was a great “excuse” to indulge in some eva green action – one of my favourite actresses who has a knack for playing seriously unhinged characters.

i’ve been seeing screenshots of Cracks floating around on various blogs and other places on the web since it was released, which painted the film as being quite dreamy and beautiful. i felt the complete opposite while watching it, however, something you will probably understand if you have seen the film yourself. i can’t say i enjoyed it. not that it matters – that’s not the point of this exercise.

i paired scenes from the film with paintings by post-impressionist Moise Kisling – there’s an underlying sense of unease in his work, especially his portraits… something that i felt throughout the film. Hila’s poem follows.

edit: felt i needed to add a post-script after Kate’s comment below, i only found out that the film was based on a book after i had watched it. not only that, but it is written by south african born author sheila kohler and set in a south african boarding school (nogal)

words by Hila Schachar

paintings from top to bottom: untitled ; les enfants du docteur tas, louis et zoucha ; portrait de femme ; ofelia ; nu couchi dans les feuillages ; les mains ; tulips ; untitled ; l’attente ; eve ; la naufragée

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The Comparisons Project: Bright Star

you’ll remember hila from her things i like right now a while back. we’ve teamed up for a cool little project where we pick a film, i create some colour comparison mash ups (be it with art, fashion, vintage…) and hila writes a short piece of fiction based on the results. i was immediately intrigued when hila suggested the idea, as it combines creative strengths from both sides  – and i am in awe of anyone who can write creatively.

the first film is bright star directed by jane campion, which tells the story of the romance between fanny brawne and john keats. i paired stills from the film with paintings by edmund c. tarbell, an american impressionist who often painted portraits and scenes of his wife and children. hila’s piece of fiction follows.

fanny brawne sits in a corner and watches an ailing man duplicate words. her needle tears and reforms incisively.

she imagines a tweed suit that can be gilded with unutterable sentences. she would sew this suit as armour, lain against a rapt chest that beats irregularly with illness.

she knows her woman’s work is really a form of enlivening. an act of creation and generosity.

fanny’s watching becomes a topic of fascination for someone who reads letters meant only for her. after her mother’s death, a young girl likes to sit in the enclosed space of a torn armchair, examining the cover, the pages, the smell of a book of letters with fanny’s name. this too is an act of evasive generosity, parcelled out through distance.

she mirrors what fanny creates. in her bed at night, she lays fabric before her and rips neat squares. they cover one another like a palimpsest. what clever fingers can do is bind the trauma of experience with love.

her mother liked the quiet contemplation of needlepoint. like praying, she would say. and so her prayers come as a form of domestic reconstitution, not sublime poetry. the revenant residue of someone who will be forgotten, while words remain.

fanny feels his straining beneath clothes as she sits in corners, wrapped in chairs like a cocoon. this evasion, this bodily separation, comes together through her sharp needle, moving in, moving out.

words by hila schachar.

paintings from top to bottom: the blue veilacross the roomgirl readingmother and marymy daughter josephinenew england interiorthe sistersmary reading

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Hila: things i like right now

i love when you stumble upon a blog, and within 2 minutes you add it to your reader & become a devoted follower – that’s what it was like when i came across hila‘s blog le projet d’amour. i knew her list would be full of things that i too would love (like masculine style, YES!) but what i like most about it is that hila admits to loving gossip girl… just like the rest of us chicks. don’t deny it, ladies – cause i won’t believe you.

things i like right now by hila shachar of le projet d’amour

  1. Time Doesn’t Stand Still: I’m fascinated by this French short film, choreographed by Benjamin Millepied (New York City Ballet), who also choreographed The Black Swan.
  2. Versailles la Nuit: Versailles is an amazing place in the daytime. I remember walking through its ‘Hall of Mirrors’ in awe. Can you imagine what it must be like to visit at night?
  3. Masculine Style: there’s nothing more alluring, in my opinion, than a woman in masculine clothing. I have a fondness for a classic white shirt tucked into wide-legged pants. So cool and elegant.
  4. Renato D’Agostin: I’m so drawn to photographer Renato D’Agostin’s work at the moment. There’s something classic yet modern about his subtle black and white images.
  5. Fire with Fire: How utterly amazing is this video installation by the Montreal-based artist, Isabelle Hayeur?
  6. The Baby-Sitters Club: Where Are They Now? This article is beyond hilarious. Although, being addicted to Sweet Valley High when I was little, I wish someone would do a similar article for Liz and Jessica and the rest of the Sweet Valley gang.
  7. The Waves by Virginia Woolf: My favourite Woolf novel, which I’m re-reading now for the fourth time.
  8. Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer: My friend recently received a copy of Tree of Codes and it’s quite possibly the most intricately-made book I’ve ever seen.
  9. Ballet Classes: There are very few things I enjoy more at the moment than my regular ballet classes. It’s probably the only form of exercise I actually like. Photo by Bruce Monk.
  10. 1920s Haircut: Ever since I saw the film Cracks, I’ve been coveting Eva Green’s 1920s haircut.
  11. Gossip Girl: as my friend so eloquently put it, ‘you’re addicted to this crap’. Yes, I am.
  12. French Kitchen by Serge Dansereau: This cook book has been on my wish-list for a long time and my brother recently bought a copy. I’ve been devouring the book with my eyes and senses. It has won its way into my heart as one of my favourite ‘go-to’ recipe books.
  13. ‘My Penguin’ Series: The idea behind the ‘My Penguin’ series is genius: the book covers of classic penguin novels are literally a blank canvas for anyone to create their own unique cover. I’ve been perusing the gallery of covers quite a bit.
  14. Soul Warmer by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger: This is pretty much a nerd’s heaven. Books + Art = Sublime.
  15. Violins: I love the tones and sounds of violins. I’ve been listening to them endlessly on my ipod. Photo from Un coeur en hiver
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