Vanity Fair at the ANU Film Group tonight. I'm a sucker for historical drama at the best of times, but I have a definite weak spot for classic English fiction done by international directors.
Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility was a shrewd and reasonably sedate look at English manners from the perspective of Chinese manners (albeit written by a quintessential Englishwoman, Emma Thompson). Bride and Prejudice was just a Bollywood hoot. Thackaray's Vanity Fair directed by Mira Nair, is England through the eyes of India. I saw this movie last year for my birthday in October (yes, Libran, me) and re-read the book avidly afterwards, and was amazed at how well they'd drawn the story together into two hours, and how much India you could cram into a movie from just one paragraph in a huge novel.
My second viewing was spent judging how pregnant Reece Witherspoon was in each scene and mentally calculating the order of filming from her head/body shots, and admiring the amount of India (and other cultures) Mira crammed into London. She constantly draws parallels between Indian street scenes (hawkers, beggars, live animals, thick crowds) with early 19th-century London streets. All the entertainments are Indian, and she even manages a whack of gorgeous Bollywood dancing. The fashions are to die for, all those stunning silk scarves (cunningly hiding pregnant swells) and woven borders, not to mention the hairstyles and headdresses. Oh! I was in heaven.
Speaking of historical drama fun, I highly recommend The Republic of Pemberley for all your Jane Austen needs. Apparently it sprang forth from a group of Jane Austen fans who were card-carrying members of the Jane Austen fan club but were constantly chastised for wanting to admire Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice. So they split off and formed a group that could openly and wantonly admire Colin Firth and others such as Greg Wise who have decorated various adaptations of Jane Austen masterpieces. There are many great features of Pemberley, not in the least Lady Catherine & Co, a fictional advice column of JA characters dealing with literary quandaries (anyone can be either querying or answering. It's a hoot). Another fab feature is one I stumbled upon in the FAQ section. In answer to 'What is The Look?', obviously asked A LOT, this is the answer. Go on, press the link. You know you want to. Enjoy.