Keats The Movie - the news we've all been waiting for....

Join in the discussion of the 2009 film Bright Star.

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Postby Malia » Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:19 am

Saturn wrote:I read this
Finally, Oscar-winning director Jane Campion is at work on a script for Bright Star, a film about the womanising Romantic poet John Keats.


:shock:

in one article and realized just how ignorant people are generally of Keats and how this film, if successful could re-ignite interest in him.

This is an exciting time for Keatsians. :D



Weelll, I don't know. Although I would not go so far as to just label Keats a "womaizer"--he was less of a mysogynist than many of his friends--he didn't always treat Fanny very well--that's just a given. Granted, illness and his past might have fueled his bitterness, he still acted bitterly and meanly toward Fanny on more than one occasion. I wonder (and have been wondering since I first heard about this movie) whether Jane Campion is planning to cast Keats in a negative light and really highlight Fanny Brawne in this movie. I've read she's a staunch feminist and really likes to create strong women who have to deal with real jerky guys, I wonder in what light she will cast our man Keats.
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Postby dks » Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:01 pm

Hmmm. Grrrrr. :?

Ms. Campion needs be careful...I would think our scholar man, Andy Motion, would strongly advise her differently... :wink:
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Postby Saturn » Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:26 pm

If occasionally showing impatience with Fanny's flirtations and saying a few harsh words makes Keats a misogynist then God help all men :roll:

We only know of two women he was really closely involved with: Isabella Jones and Fanny herself.
If that makes him a womaniser then so am I.

He was hardly Byron :roll:

He was a man of his time of course, and I know all the passages where he says demeaning and derogatory things against the female race but, even as you say, he was less prejudiced against women than the vast majority of his friends and society at large.
People seem to forget this is how the world was until the mid 20th century in the Western world at least

Did he cheat on her, lie to her, beat her?

I really hope this film does not set out to make Keats some kind of unstable monster. His terminal illness and the pressure he was under have to be taken into account when reading those last tragic, bitter letters - he was not himself when he wrote them; his mind and body were at the point of despair and collapse.
Last edited by Saturn on Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby adonais » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:12 pm

Saturn wrote:If occasionally showing impatience with Fanny's flirtations and saying a few harsh words makes Keats a misogynist then God help all men :roll:

Saturn, I don't think you need to "defend" Keats on this forum.. ;)
However, could you point me to where you think he was being impatient with Fanny's flirtations? I think I must have read those passages in a different way, or missed them altogether.

I for one wouldn't mind at all if the movie were to show his flaws as well as his virtues (it would be rather uninteresting if it didn't). I personally think he was being a little bit nutty and rather paranoid with regards to Fanny :lol:
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Postby Saturn » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:40 pm

I don't have the references to hand but Keats was jealous of Fanny going to balls and parties while he was ill and dancing with other men. Also he suspected that she was flirting with Brown at one point.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:06 am

I'd be inclined to think that if anything, Keats would be portrayed as sympathetic to, or at least very reverent, if from a distance, of women (he was, of course, passionately in love with one, duh :P and I would argue had a tendency to put Fanny on a pedestal of imagined perfection which no woman in reality could live up to). After all, he is the main character, so I can hardly see Ms. Campion, as feminist as she may be, making us not want to like him. I mean, he has to die in the end, right? If she wants to express her feminism by making Keats look like he's being a jerk to Fanny, then send him off to Rome to die a tragic and lonely death. . . it just doesn't make good sense. These early descriptions are also billing the subject of this film as the "romance" between Keats and Fanny, so I think the focus is going to be more on the tragedy of their youth and separation, as well as the loss of Keats's spectacular talent cut off from the world, rather than anything else. Of course, every good romance has its rocky elements, so no doubt Keats's frustrations over Fanny's supposed insensitive behavior, as well as Fanny's own problems with being the object of affection of a man with such tumultuous emotions and a known hot temper, will certainly factor in quite strongly. But I think for this film to work, the only logical thing is that in spite of the troubles of both the main characters, they're both going to have to end up winning the sympathy of the audience in the end: Keats because of his death, and Fanny because she lost him. Hence, "womanizing Keats" would certainly be detrimental not just to the true nature of the man, but to the general success of the film's plot and character development.
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Postby dks » Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:23 pm

I agree with you, Credo. Ms. Campion will, however, need to treat the romance between them carefully. It's too bad she didn't have Robert Gittings on hand to consult--his bio is known for it's thorough treatment of the Keats/Brawne relationship.

She'll have to do two things for certain. 1. she'll have to depict Fanny as the charming, vivacious, flirty (not in a bad way--in a somewhat unconventional gregarious way--like his mother :!: ) girl she was--how much she'll showcase those traits is what remains to be seen--these qualities in Fanny are exactly what both attracted and repelled (and vexed) Keats all at the same time. 2. in order for the audience to fully understand who he was, she'll have to highlight his disposition as a person, and as a poet--that's the task she has ahead of her as a director--Keats truly fell for Fanny because she began to know and gain strong affection for Keats the man, not the potentially 'up and coming, struggling misunderstood genius' of a poet. This kernal of connection is what helped the relationship between them blossom initially...that will have to be portrayed subtly and carefully...

*actor plug alert*...and only James McAvoy can bring to the screen all of the complexities and subtleties which made Keats the wondrous person he was--everyone else around him merely reacted to this, I believe. But then...I'm a wee bit biased... :wink:
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Postby Saturn » Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:34 pm

Is Mr Gittings still alive? :?
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Postby dks » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:32 am

Saturn wrote:Is Mr Gittings still alive? :?


Nah, I don't think so. :?:
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Postby Saturn » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:07 am

Just as I thought :( :( :(
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Postby Malia » Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:14 pm

dks wrote:
Saturn wrote:Is Mr Gittings still alive? :?


Nah, I don't think so. :?:


Robert Gittings is indeed deceased--and has been for some time. As far as some of the other well-known Keats biographers/scholars are concerned, Aileen Ward is still alive and I *think* Walter Jackson Bate is, too.
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Postby dks » Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:35 pm

Wow. :shock: If Aileen Ward is still alive--she is not young...
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Postby Malia » Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:41 pm

dks wrote:Wow. :shock: If Aileen Ward is still alive--she is not young...


You're right, she's definitely "up there" in years--somewhere near or in her 80's, but I believe she's still writing essays and doing some work as a professor emeritus (if that's how you spell it). She's fairly retired, I'm sure, but not dead yet! :)
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Postby dks » Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:08 pm

Talk about age being a state of mind... :!:
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Postby Credo Buffa » Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:40 pm

Wow. I feel like we should write her a letter and tell her how much we love her Keats bio and how valuable finding those out-of-print copies has been for us.
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