BBC Programming finally being bold enough

widesargassosea

Last night there was an excellently well handled adaptation of a Classic. Just a few weeks ago there was low moan about yet another version on Jane Eyre, but last light this new adaptation was put brilliantly into a modern context, and answered by:

Jean Rhys’ “prequel” companion piece, “The Wide Sargasso Sea” which tries to explain the story of the secret monster in the attic.

It was using the same Rochester and by the same production team, as far as I know, this is a first — and about time too.

I’ve tried to fully comprehend the novel lots of times before, but Jean Rhys was an avowedly exprerimental writer, who was affected by a method provided by surrealism — perhaps the only way, back then, for expressing such a marginalised viewpoint.
The scriptwriters paced the horrible decline, from confidence, and to her loss of home, power, identity, sexuality, and her sanity. The scene where Rochester tells Antoinette that he will now call her ‘Bertha’ was presented correctly: as contemptuously disgusting and properly tragic and shocking, something the original would shamefully leave as unexaminable.

I hope the DVD will be available soon — this is a landmark.

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One thought on “BBC Programming finally being bold enough

  1. Guy, do you remember that I read Jean Rhys’ “The Wide Sargasso Sea” three or four years go from your recommendation at our old watering hole? I should have bought it so I can read it again. I must have checked it out from the library. What I recall from the book was Antoinette’s struggle with her bi-racial identity and Mr. Rochester being presented in a more sympathetic light that I would expect him to be. It was not as if he did not treat her like a piece of property. It seems like Rhys paints him as if he was just a victim of the way things were, sort of like Fanny’s innocence’s from Sir Bertrand’s slave money, but her benefit from living at Mansfield’s Park. As if losing money is involved then everyone is free from morality because no one can blame him or her for not wanting to lose money. I am referring to the threat, I think if I remember right, of him losing his inheritance if he did not comply with his father’s wishes. By the way, did you see the Jane Eyre with Samantha Morton and Cirian Hinds. When Berta’s brother comes, he is white! Then again, I am not sure if she was bi-racial. I really need to read this book over; it was before I started taking Literature seriously. </></>I will watch it when it becomes available.

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