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Art Documentary Exhibitions Features Live Action Movies

Hopper: An American Love Story

Director – Phil Grabsky – 2022 – UK – Cert. 12a – 94m

*****

The story of American painter Edward Hopper, and how his artistic career was facilitated by his fellow artist wife Jo out in UK cinemas on Tuesday, October 18th

Latest entry in Grabsky’s generally excellent Exhibition On Screen series about art and artists covers the career of Edward Hopper to tie in with a major Hopper exhibition (Edward Hopper’s New York) at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The big (and most welcome) surprise is that it charts not just Hopper’s life and work but also that of fellow artist Josephine Nivison, later his wife Josephine Nivison Hopper, whose career was largely eclipsed by his during his lifetime. To be fair, it doesn’t really go into her life before the point at which she became involved in his.

Hopper was born in 1882 and raised in the Nyack, New York house his parents had built (an enviable state, indicative of their and his time, which must surely influence one’s outlook on life). Religion and church were important to the Hoppers, but theirs was the brand of Christianity unafraid to engage with the outside world which at that time meant vast quantities of books and periodicals; the young Edward acquired a love of books from his avid reader father.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Bright Star

Director – Jane Campion – 2009 – UK – Cert. PG – 119m

*****

The early nineteenth century romance between prospectless young poet John Keats and the younger Fanny Brawne – in cinemas from Friday, November 6th 2009

Bright Star‘s title comes from an 1819 love poem written by 23-year-old John Keats for 18-year-old Fanny Brawne, his next door neighbour. The poet (historical spoiler coming) contracted tuberculosis and died at the tender age of 25, before the couple could be married. Brawne subsequently mourned him for several years.

As you might expect from a filmography including both The Piano and In The Cut, Jane Campion is never one to match standard expectations and often overturns them to advantage.

There is scarce little (verbal) poetry here either spoken by the actors onscreen or in voice-over. The source materials are Andrew Motion’s biography Keats and the poems themselves. Reading Motion’s book, Campion was very taken with his material on the love relationship between the poet and Brawne and thought there could be a film there. Without any real idea as to how such a film would work at the time. She eventually opted for telling the couple’s story through the eyes of the girl.… Read the rest