Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bright Star

Bright Star is a romantic verse by British Romantic poet, John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821), who was one of the main figures of the second generation of romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work only having been in publication for four years before his death.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Bright Star is a 2009 film based on the last three years of the life of poet John Keats and his romantic relationship with Fanny Brawne. It stars Ben Whishaw as Keats and Abbie Cornish as Fanny. A British/Australian/French co-production, it was directed by Jane Campion, who wrote the screenplay and was inspired by the biography of Keats by Andrew Motion, who served as a script consultant on the film.The film competed in the main competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, and was first shown to the public on 15 May 2009. The film's title is a reference to a sonnet by Keats named "Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art", which he wrote while he was with Brawne.

Writes Roger Ebert about the Jane Campion film: John Keats wasn't meekly posing as a Romantic poet. He was the real thing, and the last born of the group that also included Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron and Shelley. He died at 25 and remains forever young.

The great and only love of his life was Fanny Brawne, the daughter of his landlady. He lived with his friend, Charles Brown, and she with her mother, sister and brother in the two halves of a Hampstead cottage so small, it gives meaning to the phrase "living in each other's pockets." Their love was grand and poetic and -- apart from some sweet kisses -- platonic, for he had neither the means nor the health to propose marriage, and they were not moved to violate the moral code of what was not yet quite the Victorian era.

Jane Campion's beautiful, wistful film "Bright Star" shows them frozen in courtship, like the young man Keats wrote about in "Ode on a Grecian Urn": the youth who is immortalized forever in pursuit of a maid he is destined never to catch.

The Complete Review Here.

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