Sunday, September 13, 2009

I can't stop thinking about Jane Campion's Bright Star

Some notes on Bright Star:

It's been nearly two weeks since I saw Jane Campion's newest film, Bright Star, and I can't get it out of my system. I'm currently writing a review of the film for the website I help edit, The Feminist Review, and I also have the great honor of being able to interview Jane Campion this upcoming Thursday. She has been one of my greatest heroes for a very long time. I love all of her films (including In the Cut!) and I've been anxiously awaiting her next project for six long years. Bright Star was worth the wait. I'm writing my feelings about the film here before I continue with my review in the hopes that I can write more cohesively about it in my more formal piece.

I don't really know what I was expecting from Bright Star, but I don't think I was really prepared for the emotional sledgehammer it delivered. My mind keeps drifting to the quiet moments of pure romantic entanglement between Fanny and her Mr. Keats. Though Bright Star is only a PG rated film, I can't for the life of me remember another cinematic romance that so enveloped my mind, body, and spirit in recent years. Whenever I think about it, I feel my cheeks grow warmer and my heart race faster. I feel like I just left the theatre. If you know me, you know that I watch movies with my soul hanging out. Most movies fail to penetrate its exterior and add their unique flavor to my persona, but some movies do. Bright Star is certainly one of them. I could hardly breathe when I left the theatre and I can hardly breathe right now while just thinking about it. There are so many seconds of pure bliss inside Bright Star's tender, tragic frames that I don't even know how to articulate its entire effect on me. I know I've described some of the physical sensations, but...I'm just so overwhelmed and destroyed by its effect on me emotionally that I don't know where to begin. This is why I could never be a truly academic film critic. I get too wrapped up in the glory of film to think about it from an objective standpoint. Writing like that is just so passionless and bland. I'm fully aware that that way of thinking might become detrimental to my future career, but I don't think I'll change as long as movies like Bright Star continue to bowl me over with their exceptional beauty and artistry. That's what cinema is all about. Bright Star opens on 9/18 and I encourage everyone to watch it. Please look for my review and interview around that time!