Thursday, 12 March 2015
Lady Chatterley (2006)
I've not read the novel or seen a film adaptation but I do know the gist of the story and its themes of the class, liberation, healing and in the case of this film, gender roles. So here goes...
From the opening shot, Marina Hands as Constance is the embodiment of loneliness and repression. Hippolyte Girardot as her handicapped husband, Sir Clifford, is as alone as his wife; a sad and wounded man, full of guilt. While Jean-Louis Coulloc'h is quietly brilliant as a slightly balding, middle-aged, taciturn Parkin/Mellors.
Each of the main characters bears their own scars but only Constance and Parkin can only be healed by each other. Clifford, not willing to break the constraints of his class, will never be free and always handicapped.
The isolation of the estate enhances the main character's loneliness while the wild and flowering woods, that Constance travels through for her meetings with Parkin, mirrors what he represents to her. It would have been easy for the characters to slip into caricatures of previous versions but this never happens. They are rounded, restrained and totally believable.
A wonderful film shot through with little touches of humour and full of symbolism (I found the floppy pink tulip at 1;23 hilarious). This Belgian/French adaptation is, at a shade under three hours, a little long but full of passion, tenderness and intelligence.
Note: apparently this film is an adaptation of an alternate and earlier version of the famous novel, named "John Thomas and Lady Jane".
Original letterboxd review