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.