I Capture the Castle

Sunday, 10 July 2011

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

i capture the castle

I Capture the Castle is a film that I watch when I want to feel good. It inspires a general feeling of contentment as its imagery passes before your eyes. The storyline is quite simple and straightforward, leaving the characters to speak for themselves. The film is an adaptation of Dodie Smith's well-known novel, I Capture the Castle, which is one of my favourite coming-of-age books. The novel, like the film, is told from the pages of Cassandra Mortmain's journal, and details her eccentric family circle: her writer father, her beautiful sister, Rose, her artist stepmother and her precocious brother.

Both the novel and film remind me of a mix between Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Rose is very much like Austen's Marianne, while Cassandra, our heroine, is a lovely combination of Elizabeth's wit and cleverness, coupled with Elinor's strength of character and maturity. The storyline is also very similar to the traditional courtship tales found in Austen's novels, and it's infused with the same wit, humour and attention to social detail that make Austen's novels so memorable. However, what the film brings to the forefront from its literary sources is a strong sense of emerging desire as part of the growing up process. This is definitely not Austen territory. There is a real sweetness and freshness to this film in its depiction of sexuality, and yet, there is nothing twee about it. It just seems honest, like Cassandra herself.

But there is another reason why I watch this film so many times, and that is because it feels so close to my own memories. There are certain films that make me feel so comfortable, that I begin to attach my own memories to them, as if I'm involved in the construction of the film narrative. Does anyone else do this? Here's what I mean:

: : The image of Cassandra sun baking after a swim, which reminds me of lying on huge warm slabs of stone in my grandparents' front garden, feeling the warmth of the stones emanating through a wet bathing suit.

: : The image of Cassandra having a bath in her kitchen by the fire, that instantly brings to mind a family trip in which we had no electricity in a cottage we hired out, and took baths next to the fireplace. Bliss.

: : The image of Cassandra writing in a crowded London cafe, which always jolts me with such a desire to return to England, where I used to do the very same thing, surrounded by strangers in cafes.

: : The image of delicate flowers threaded through Rose's hair, which takes me back to a childhood birthday party in Israel, for which my mother painstakingly braided flowers into my own hair. Each time her hand brushed my cheek or the back of my neck, I caught a whiff of her perfume. I'm convinced that everyone's mother has her own unique smell, and if you're lucky, that smell is childhood itself.

I could go on, but I won't. There's something to be said for a film that can make you enjoy it on such a memory-level, as it's almost like the film is participating in your own personal history.

P.S. I want to thank everyone who commented on my previous post. Such long, and thoughtful comments, they were so reassuring and heartening to read.

15 comments:

Danielle P. said...

After happening upon the last half of this movie on television a few years ago, I had promised myself that I would watch it in its entirety. Something attracted me instantly. Thank you for reminding me that I had yet to fulfil this promise, Hila! (Of course, I must also read the book!)

Felix Curds said...

that combination of characters in one family sounds so interesting haha! this film looks very pretty and it's especially appealing after being noted as a 'coming-of-age' story:) thanks for sharing, hila.

Sasha said...

It certainly sounds like a lovely movie and it's wonderful when you find a movie that brings up personal memories. That's definitely got to be a sign of a terrific film.

CloudyKim said...

Oooh! I got so excited when I saw "I Capture the Castle" on your post title! I only just recently watched this movie, and I still haven't read the book, but I do really love it. More than anything, I think the quirky characters, mixed with the wonderful cinematography, makes my jaw drop.

However, as I usually confess, I don't have much stomach for a love story that, well, doesn't work out, haha. And for me, I immediately fell in love with Cassandra and Stephen. Simon? Meh. It was the bluebell dreams and the quiet, hard-earned presents that made me swoon. But of course, it's wasn't meant to be. One of the main frustrations I had with the narrative itself was that the characters seemed stuck in regards to love. They could never grow to love someone. Strange, but I understood it as one of those story laws.

I like how you related some scenes to what you experienced in your past (Oh, I'd love to take a bath in front of a fire, haha!). I can't relate to the film in that way, but there's something still delicate and nostalgic about it. It is, by all means, a great film.

tywo said...

I'm adding this to my list. I love how delicate the picture looks.


LOVE!

Lo said...

thanks for sharing--this looks wonderful. I also love all of the actors.

andrea despot said...

though i can't say it's true for myself - so far - i love the idea that a movie can intertwine with your own memories. such a beautiful post :)

the dizzle said...

thanks for writing about this. i ended up watching it almost right after i read your post. i'm not usually one for tales of love but i liked that this one dealt with things realistically, feelings i think all people go through but aren't usually put out there in movies. i have to admit, it had me crying but feeling fresh and i loved the sister's room so much! all the relationships were touching, even if it didn't have a fairytale ending, i didn't think it was hopeless either.

odessa said...

oh, i want to read the book and watch the movie now! i really love how you the visual images evoked such vivid memories in you. isn't it amazing how certain films can do that to us?

Galit said...

Haven't heard of I capture the castle before so thanks for the intro! A mix between Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility sounds like a perfect deal for those cold nights.

hila said...

danielle: that's great, watch it with pleasure :)

felix curds: I'd like to see you apply your wit to this film :)

sasha: it really is a very lovely film.

cloudykim: oh I have no problem when relationships don't work out in films, this seems pretty realistic. I think I would have hated this film if it sugar coated everything.

tywo: yes, they are indeed delicate.

lo: me too, such lovely ladies.

andrea: I really hope I'm not the only one who does this!

the dizzle: yes, what you say is so true, which I suppose is why I really enjoy watching this film.

odessa: it is amazing, this is why I'll never get sick of films :)

galit: it is! it's been particularly cold in perth lately, I love it :)

bronwyn said...

Every so often I smell my mother's perfume on someone and am instantly transported to my childhood. It is absolutely the smell of childhood to me.

hila said...

bronwyn: I know, it's such a wonderful feeling.

Liza said...

This is one of my favorite novels and one of my favorite movies (everyone - Rose, Cassandra, their father - is perfectly cast!). Thank you for posting these lovely screenshots. It makes me want to disappear into Cassandra's world yet again.

hila said...

liza: I'm re-reading the novel now, and I don't want it to end. I really just want to stay in Cassandra's world :)