FRANCE: Former Palme d'Or winner Jane Campion unveils new movie "Bright Star" about true love affair between poet John Keats and Fanny BrawneRecord ID: 385138
- Title: FRANCE: Former Palme d'Or winner Jane Campion unveils new movie "Bright Star" about true love affair between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne
- Date: 16th May 2009
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (MAY 15, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) "BRIGHT STAR" DIRECTOR JANE CAMPION, SAYING: "The biography, the actual history of these two characters so caught me unaware, so enchanting and so painful and this endless fascination in it because you can explore it in many different ways you can explore it though Keats letters which are so lively and so full of philosophy and gossip and bits of his poems as they came out." WIDE OF NEWS CONFERENCE FOR "BRIGHT STAR" (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR BEN WHISHAW WHO PLAYS POET JOHN KEATS, SAYING: "I didn't really think it was my cup of tea I like modern stuff you know that was short, short lines and blunt and different. But I've grown to love the kind of luxury of his writing and the sensuality of it. Also when you investigate a person that deeply you kind of fall in love with that person and learning about his life and reading his letters."
- Reuters ID: LVAEABX3BWCOO1UG0QAM7HT63H2I
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:01:02
- Story Text: Jane Campion's latest film, on show at Cannes, portrays the passionate affair between the Romantic poet John Keats and his teenaged love Fanny Brawne but is not a biopic, the New Zealand-born director said on Friday (May 15).
"Bright Star" brings Campion, 55, back to the film festival where she made her name in 1993 with "The Piano", another 19th century romance that won her both the Palme d'Or award for best film and an Oscar in the same year.
Saying she felt "very excited and fearful" at returning to Cannes, where she is still the only woman ever to have won the main competition prize, Campion said she had striven to avoid the cliches that can rob many period films of life.
The film includes the lush and colourful imagery that marked Campion's earlier films and natural performances from the cast including the two leads, Australian actor Abbie Cornish as Fanny and Britain's Ben Whishaw as Keats.
"What was important was to tell a very intimate story and to make nothing of the fact that it was a period film," she told a press conference after the film's warmly received first screening on Friday.
Keats was struggling to establish himself as a poet when he met Fanny Brawne in 1818. The acquaintance deepened when he moved next door to her family in the London village of Hampstead the following year and the pair fell passionately in love.
Whishaw said initially he was uninterested in the writings of the poet but was eventually won over.
"I didn't really think it was my cup of tea I like modern stuff you know that was short, short lines and blunt and different. But I've grown to love the kind of luxury of his writing and the sensuality of it. Also when you investigate a person that deeply you fall in love with that person and learning about his life and reading his letters," he said.
In the few years they spent before his death at the age of 25, Keats wrote some of his greatest poetry including "Ode to a Grecian Urn"
and "Ode to a Nightingale" as well as love letters that Campion drew on heavily for the film.
Campion said she had adored Keats's poetry but was equally enchanted with the figure of Fanny Brawne, a teenager more interested in sewing and clothes than poetry when the pair first met and whom Keats at first described as a "minx".
"There definitely was some gusto to Fanny Brawne which definitely appealed to me and I think it was very important to Jane as well to bring forward that charisma, flamboyance and liveliness," said Cornish.
Built around small intimate scenes involving the two lovers and Fanny's family, the film seeks to avoid the kind of stiff, crinoline-draped scenes familiar from countless period films.
The landscape of Hampstead Heath, a vast area of wild parkland north of London, where the two lived, provides the backdrop to the film, reflecting the changing seasons over the two years they spent together.
Due to practical constraints, the film was not shot in Keats's own house, but the natural world is a constant feature providing striking images of flowers and meadows that underpin the burgeoning love story.
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