viernes, 5 de mayo de 2017


Here's another assignment I had to write on FutureLearn, this one about reading strategies and my own experience. I believe that fiction, whether literature or audiovisual media, should hold a mirror in front of reality, like, to take Shakespeare's most egregious example, the mirror the last of Banquo's descendants held in hand facing King James across the fourth wall.

Last month I went to see the live action version of the French fairytale film that inspired my passion for literature when I still lay in the cradle. It's not hard to see why my review of Beauty and the Beast on my blog (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE - MMXVII) is so packed with excitement. 
Said review begins with the following paragraphs:
"The first we got to see in autumn last year were some celebrities' names and this crimson rose in a frosted dome (reminiscent of both B&tB and The Snow Queen); details that already got me excited and waiting for springtime. And it has truly felt like a long awaited springtime after an endless winter, to borrow a metaphor from the film itself!
Tale as old as time, true as it can be... I had been waiting until the musical version of the French fairytale that awoke my passion for literature should be brought to the live action format and hoped that said version would not disappoint me. It has not... rather, the whole film, which I have watched this evening, has taken my breath and heartbeat away. It's not a film, it's a MAGNUM OPUS. The setting, the songs, the costumes, the unexpected twists... And this is the reason why I have decided to consecrate a review to it right here and right now... detailing all the things I have adored about this version: loose ends cleared up, animated scenes brilliantly rendered into live action, and some Easter eggs one needs real passion for literature in general and the Bard in particular, like that of Belle and her Beast, to discover!
Seeing those scenes come alive 
The old rose-seller revealing herself as a fairy, turning the prince into a beast and the courtiers into objects. Belle walking past the chickens and getting dissed by the other villagers. Belle taking her leave of her papa. The Beast capturing Maurice after he's picked that rose. Belle returning Romeo and Juliet to the priest (instead of Jack and the Beanstalk to the librarian!). Belle giving Gaston the axe. The triplets fawning over Gaston. Chip blowing bubbles for Belle. The Master and Belle at first mistrusting one another. Mme. de Garderobe decking Belle in uncomfortable court dress. Belle befriending Lumière, and the extravagant feast for both the lips and the eyes that he prepares for her. The Master saving a runaway Belle from a pack of wolves. Belle nursing the Master back to health. Belle and the Master enjoying the wintry garden, the library, finding a common interest in literature as a springboard for the fact that there's something there. The snowball fight in the royal gardens, Belle discarding her spoon and drinking soup from the plate like her beau. That dance, both lovers getting prepared for the ballroom; her golden gown and his cobalt blue overcoat. Gaston in scarlet mess uniform drowning his sorrows in the tavern and Lefou bragging about his accomplishments to all the others. Belle scrying into the mirror to find her papa in distress. The Master letting Belle go and regretting it, feeling as if she would betray him. Belle and Maurice locked in the Maison des Lunes carriage and finally escaping. The storming of the castle. Mme. de Garderobe singing her solo as she throws herself down a ledge. Gaston treacherously striking the Master down in the back, and then falling to his death from a parapet. The Master dying in Belle's arms, suddenly disenchanted, as well as all the objects... and that final dance that crowns it all. Seeing all of these scenes take place in live action is astounding, and besides it has also awakened old memories within me..."
What does all of this say about reading strategies and yours truly?
Close reading of texts rife with transparent immediacy has always been my favourite reading strategy since early childhood and even up to right now in my twenties.
I offered myself as a hostage to the Beast in exchange for my father's freedom. I shuddered when Mufasa did not even flinch after falling down that cliff. I carried on with Gerda searching for Kai across the wide world from south to north, with the Duchess of Norroway searching for her Duke as she wore out those heavy iron shoes, with Marco searching for his mum across the ocean and the pampas. And it felt to me that these young people had well deserved and earned their happy ending.
I have mourned for Romeo and Juliet, for Desdemona, Ophelia, Mercutio, Mufasa, Bambi's mum, Atreyu's horse, Sirius Black, Fred Weasley, Remus and Tonks and their unborn baby... When GoT came along as I reached my twenties, I was already prepared for Ygritte, Renly, and Oberyn surprisingly and violently passing away, and I did not feel as much grief as I feel shock.
I have seen and still see myself in Tyrion Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Luna Lovegood, Rainbow Dash, Cassio (Othello's lieutenant), Portia...
I have loved Jasper Whitlock and Finnick Odair, sitting on the fence with my kind-hearted favourite male characters as the world around me warred whether the gradually more insipid heroine should wind up with the boy next door or the troubled bad boy; I choose a third option in both cases, that of the gentlemanly blond who is only relegated to the role of "friend" as a major secondary character. Following my own heart and preferences instead of the trends. I don't give a hoot about trends.
I have always been a close reader and will always be. Because of the emotions that were, are, and will be aroused within me; no matter if I am elated because the clever princess in Story the Fourth of The Snow Queen has found Mr. Right and their kindness to a common stranger exemplifies how good people are (or rather can be), or in wrenching sorrow when Eugene Onegin and Apollo have violently killed their more-than-friends Vladimir Lensky and Hyacinthus respectively (by accident, in the springtime of youth, and by the hands of the ones they loved!), or if a shudder is running down my spine when the locusts in Gautier's rendition of the Eighth Plague get into people's mouths and nostrils and "on en respirait" (these locusts got breathed in).
It's these feelings that make it worthwhile. To sum it up quoting a certain young boy called Jojen Reed: WHO HAS NEVER READ LIVES ONLY ONE LIFE; A READER LIVES A THOUSAND LIVES.

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