Thursday, July 17, 2008
Lady Chatterley; romance, Belgium / France / UK, 2006; D: Pascale Ferran, S: Marina Hands, Jean-Louis Coullo'ch, Hippolyte Girardot, Hélène Alexandridis, Hélène Fillières
Britain, early 20th century. Sir Clifford lives in his estate, paralyzed from the waist down. His young wife, Lady Constance, takes care for him just like all of his servants, yet she feels her life is empty, sad and grey. After she overcomes a sickness, her doctor advises her to take a positive turn towards life and find something that will make her happy. She wonders around the forest and meets Parkin, Clifford's gamekeeper living alone in a hut. She cannot forget him and slowly starts an affair with him. Their love suddenly makes her alive and happy. She becomes pregnant and take a trip to the French Riviera, but returns after she hears Parkin was injured. The two of them admit they love each other.
The fourth movie adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover", Pascale Ferran's "Lady Chatterley" is at moments flawed and rather ephemera piece of work, but it's still non the less really beautiful. The main theme of the story is that love changed the main heroine Constance by transforming her sad and lifeless life into happiness and joy, thus becoming an ode to the celebration of life, whereas the director Ferran showed some real first class talent when he crafted some scenes that enrich it - for instance, the sequence where Constance wonders around the forest, arrives at the hut, accidentally spots Parkin washing himself outside and then quickly runs away, but later that evening, in her room, takes her clothes off and observes her body in the mirror, lies in bed but doesn't read the book in her hands, perfectly sums up every emotion of awakened romantic interest at her down to a T, analyzing her cold life and her suppressed desire in conflict. Even though there are quite a few erotic moments present, this is still a very sincere, honest and touching movie of incredible sensuality, whose quiet style isn't based on mad pace or tricks or gimmicks, but on pure human relationships that seem fascinating. One of the most powerful moments comes when Constance holds a little chick and starts crying, which causes Parkin to return the chick to the cage and make love to her - after it, Constance is seen running happy in her red dress though the forest. Even though it's rather too simple and uneven, this is one rare example of intelligent sensuality.