Author Topic: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion  (Read 52179 times)

Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2008, 07:59:14 pm »
Since we are already talking about Nan's various transformations in TTV, I thought some 'photographic evidence' would be a good idea. =)
Hopefully some of the pictures will inspire some more discussions as well. ;)


**~**~**~**~**~**


Nan as a fresh-faced oyster-girl, infatuated (possibly in love) and confused about her emerging feelings for Kitty...




"Now, I'm like you"...
I loved this scene when Nan looks at herself after her haircut.  Her expression brings one word to mind: Awakening. :)




"I could fall for a boy like you.."  the way Kitty delivers that line in this scene... loved it.




I like how she exudes confidence and even a touch of arrogance in this scene..




Working the streets as a young soldier.. That old john was creepy as heck. lol..




"Evenin' sweetheart.." Nan notices Flo for the first time..
Still overcoming her Kitty-blues and starting to get a sense of her "old self" back..




An introduction to the Sapphist Socialite lifestyle..




And one of my faves..
The beginnings of a family..  :)

« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 07:55:23 pm by Lucise »


Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2008, 01:56:43 pm »
Hi M!

Thanks so much for all these pictures. :)  Nan (and Kitty too really) certainly are chameleons.  I still really wonder if this might be some kind of comment on how lesbians in generations gone-by (and even now) have either worked to blend into conventional society or stand-out (to other lesbians) through a lot of deliberate manipulations of dress and image. 


Let’s turn to Ralph for a sec…
When he came into the living room that morning and found Nan and Flo lying together after their night out at the lesbian bar, he didn’t seem surprised or upset by it… he was a little embarrassed if anything.  No doubt he was aware of her sexuality and was accustomed to the idea that his sister’s lover would be a woman.  How wonderful it must’ve been for Flo to have such an open-minded and loving brother, especially at a time when it was so undoubtedly unacceptable to be queer.  I love that he accepted her, despite what the neighbors might've said. 

Ralph is such a great character.  I love how Nan describes him as "gentle" and with no motivations besides kindness when it came to helping her from the beginning.  And, I totally love how Nan helped him with his political rally that he cared so much about.  And, yes, I do think Ralph must have known about Flo's sexuality prior to Nan... especially if Lillian had lived with them for a time and they've now found themselves in the position of raising Cyril.

I suspect we're supposed to see Ralph as a true "progressive" in every sense (and the best sense) of that word.  I also think he's helpful to demonstrating how lesbians and men can be great friends and very helpful to one another given the right circumstances and mutual respect.

One other thing I find interesting about Ralph is the very end when he's watching Nan perform on stage.  When Nan's singing about "settling" down and forming "a cozy little nest"... in one sense she's sort of referring to what she already has with Flo, Ralph and Cyril.  But, there's a moment when Ralph's listening and he sort of looks down and looks wistful... and I wonder if he's thinking about finding a partner for himself.


So, on another topic relating to TTV... how do you feel about the representation of Kitty and Nan's first kiss... and the sort of explosive way that they reveal their feelings to each other in the carriage following the dinner/dancing out?  Kitty gets so angry all of a sudden watching Nan dancing with the guy from the band.  It's interesting that this was the moment that tipped the balance and made the situation clear to both Kitty and Nan.

<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/3859591-62b.jpg" border="0" />

<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/midsize/3859589-35c.jpeg" border="0" />


the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2008, 02:10:16 pm »


"Evenin' sweetheart.." Nan notices Flo for the first time..
Still overcoming her Kitty-blues and starting to get a sense of her "old self" back..





Just one more comment for now... This is such an interesting scene.  Where she senses her first spark of attraction to Flo.  It's totally fascinating to see how negatively Flo reacts to Nan calling out to her with that "evening sweetheart" comment.  It's clear that Flo has no idea that Nan's a woman... and you get the sense that Flo is reacting defensively to Nan exactly as she would to any guy on the street who hassled her or made an unwanted pass at her.  And, then later, when Flo and Nan meet on the street and Nan is dressed in women's clothing... Flo just lights up when she realizes that Nan was the real source of the "evening sweetheart."  I think Flo's reaction to the two instances of meeting Nan is one clue that Nan is using to try to figure out if Flo is a "tom" too.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2008, 08:15:02 pm »
Quote
So, on another topic relating to TTV... how do you feel about the representation of Kitty and Nan's first kiss... and the sort of explosive way that they reveal their feelings to each other in the carriage following the dinner/dancing out?  Kitty gets so angry all of a sudden watching Nan dancing with the guy from the band.  It's interesting that this was the moment that tipped the balance and made the situation clear to both Kitty and Nan.

I love the portrayal of their first kiss.
It was brought on by a single event, a dance, that sent Kitty's jealousy spilling over the line they were both trying very hard not to cross.
Kitty's reaction surprised Nan as we see after Kitty storms out.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie..  :)

And then when they are in the carriage, Kitty says:  "Sometimes I don't think you care at all for my feelings.." to which Nan replies, "Oh Kitty..if you knew.." - wonderful moment.  Everything was exposed at that point.  Who knew how much time they might've spent tiptoeing around each other, never revealing their true feelings, if that night hadn't happened?  It was a revelation.

I really enjoyed the way those crucial scenes were delivered in the movie.  I think this is one instance where I almost prefer the movie version of their first kiss to the way it was originally written in the book.  The movie also added the line Kitty says in the carriage: "I hate the way you make me feel..".  Simple words that reveal her helplessness and the fact that she is falling for Nan.  :)

Do you think that Walter Bliss suspected that they were lovers later on (before it all came out, that is)?
Even before that, at the dance, when Nan asked Kitty to dance, do you think he (or anyone for that matter) ever guessed that there was a romantic interest there? I guess people were not so easily shocked in 'artistic circles' but I am sure there must have been talk.  :)


Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2008, 12:38:06 am »

I really enjoyed the way those crucial scenes were delivered in the movie.  I think this is one instance where I almost prefer the movie version of their first kiss to the way it was originally written in the book.  The movie also added the line Kitty says in the carriage: "I hate the way you make me feel..".  Simple words that reveal her helplessness and the fact that she is falling for Nan.  :)


Heya!

I agree that the intensity of the kiss scene in the carriage is really great... with everything shifting and becoming exposed all at once.  I've always sort of wondered exactly what Kitty meant with that statement "I hate the way you make me feel..."  I wonder how long she's had real feelings for Nan.  Was it from the very first meeting with the "like a mermaid" hand kiss?   Or was she just sort of flirting with Nan for a while?  We know that Kitty had had previous female lovers, so flirting with a girl from the audience may not have been so unusual for her.  Was she in love with Nan when she asked her to move to London?  She seemed somewhat surprised to realize that Nan had saved that dried up rose in her nightstand.  Nan is so naive and so quiet in the beginning I can really see how she was confusing to Kitty.  I do think Kitty was in love with Nan by the time she found her in their London room trying on the boys clothes... I guess now that I think of that... that was their first kiss (when Kitty says "I could fall for a boy like you")... but it was still masked in play-acting at that point.  I think for the kiss scene in the carriage with Kitty it's very significant that they're both wearing women's dresses.  Somehow that seems to indicate (to me at least) that they're both fully aware of the reality of the situation... that they're both now in love with another woman.  No hiding of playacting behind men's costumes at that point.


Quote
Do you think that Walter Bliss suspected that they were lovers later on (before it all came out, that is)?
Even before that, at the dance, when Nan asked Kitty to dance, do you think he (or anyone for that matter) ever guessed that there was a romantic interest there? I guess people were not so easily shocked in 'artistic circles' but I am sure there must have been talk.  :)

I think Walter probably knew from the beginning that Kitty flirted with girls and probably understood that Kitty had "flings" with women.  I think it's meant to be understood that she was pretty popular backstage at the theaters where she worked.  I've actually wondered just how many of the women who caught roses did Kitty have flings with?  Tony (Nan's sister's bisexual boyfriend) totally knew that Kitty dated women when he sort of warns her as she's chasing after Nan backstage in an early scene. 

(By the way... what do you make of that plot line with Tony being bisexual... and Alice dumping him when she found out?)

So, I'd assume that Walter had some idea.  But, I think when Nan finds him with Kitty and he made that awful statement about knowing that Nan and Kitty were "sweethearts" and that he believed that women "need a man" to actually have sex... I think he was being pretty honest about the level of understanding he had about what lesbians are and how women relate to one another.  Essentially, when it comes down to the reality of what lesbians are, Walter's clueless.  Maybe as years go on he does understand what the real story is with Kitty.  She says that their relationship became a "marriage of convenience" at the end... and maybe she's right.  It's hard to really know.


<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/3859588-f5a.jpg" border="0" />

Thinking about Walter makes me think a little bit about the mini-series of Fingersmith and another difficult prominent male character.  What's you're take on "Gentleman" from Fingersmith?  How much did he understand about Maud from the beginning?  I think he figures out her specific attraction to Sue during the watercolor lessons... but, I often wonder if he knew about Maud almost from the first time he met her.  I think he's completely stunned about Sue.  And, I also wonder about what's meant to be implied between Gentleman and the "shoeshine" boy (the one that seems to have such a crush on Gentleman in a very naive way).  Are we meant to believe that Gentleman is gay too?  He never seems to indicate real sexual interest in the women for himself... even after the marriage he seems willing to leave Maud alone and proceed with the facade of the marriage very much like play-acting.  His entire motivation through the whole thing really seems to be the money (and ego)... at least as far as I can see.



Anyway!  Wow!  There really is a lot to discuss with these films.  For now, I'm really sticking with the films in my comments here because my memory of the films is better than my memory of the details from the books (I still need to re-read them).

:)


the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #35 on: February 28, 2008, 03:19:40 pm »
Hey Amanda!  :)


Quote
(By the way... what do you make of that plot line with Tony being bisexual... and Alice dumping him when she found out?)


The first time we see that Tony is into men as well is in the beginning, after he has invited Nan back to the theatre to see Kitty’s performance.  I believe it was the day when Kitty gave Nan the rose.  She walked into Tony’s office and startled him – he was in another man’s embrace and it looked like she had interrupted an intimate moment.  What amazed me about that scene was that Nan did not look confused or surprised or upset that she’d caught her sister’s boyfriend in that situation.  The more I think on it, the more I realize that she may not have even guessed that what she had seen was sexual in any way.  Up till her first night with Kitty, we know that she was not aware that “two girls could go all the way”… I wouldn’t be surprised that it never occurred to her that Tony was bisexual. 

It is not surprising to me that Alice dumped Tony when she found out his sexuality.  She was homophobic, like most people were at the time.  She more or less shunned Nan after she ‘came out’ to her that night in bed (when Nan visited from London).  She also said when she found out that Tony liked men as much as he liked girls, it made her “feel dirty”.  That says it all, really.


Quote
Thinking about Walter makes me think a little bit about the mini-series of Fingersmith and another difficult prominent male character.  What's you're take on "Gentleman" from Fingersmith?  How much did he understand about Maud from the beginning?  I think he figures out her specific attraction to Sue during the watercolor lessons... but, I often wonder if he knew about Maud almost from the first time he met her.  I think he's completely stunned about Sue.  And, I also wonder about what's meant to be implied between Gentleman and the "shoeshine" boy (the one that seems to have such a crush on Gentleman in a very naive way).  Are we meant to believe that Gentleman is gay too?  He never seems to indicate real sexual interest in the women for himself... even after the marriage he seems willing to leave Maud alone and proceed with the facade of the marriage very much like play-acting.  His entire motivation through the whole thing really seems to be the money (and ego)... at least as far as I can see.


I love that you brought up the subject of Gentleman! :)

The way I see it, Gentleman was a very talented deceiver, on so many levels.  First off, he had to keep up appearances at Briar, fooling all the staff and even Mr Lilly, the master of the house, leading them to believe that he was part of the gentry.  Then he had to deceive Sue (and Maud) into thinking that he was on their sides from the start.  And the ultimate level of deception – after his death, they found out that he was a drapist’s son named Frederick Bunt, not Richard Rivers as he had led everyone to believe from the very beginning.  Amazing just how deep the lies ran, isn’t it?


I don’t know that Gentleman guessed Maud’s sexuality from the beginning.  He knew for a fact (and even commented on it) that she was ‘unmoved’ by the content of the books (designed to “stir the emotions”) that she read at her uncle’s readings.  He saw that there was something very unusual about her, no doubt.  Maybe he picked up some clues along the way, but it all became crystal clear to him during that particular painting lesson; it became obvious that she was lusting after or falling in love with Sue.  He even threatened to tell Sue about the infatuation if Maud did not keep up her end of the bargain.  I can’t say he was surprised when he found out.


Another interesting thing – on their wedding night at the cottage, Gentleman stumbles upon Sue and Maud making love, his reaction is interesting – there is a look of surprise on his face, he watches them for a few seconds and then leaves them to it.  The first time I saw that, I wondered why he didn’t confront them.  Then I realized that he was not about to draw that kind of attention to himself.  What would he explain to Mrs. Cream (the cottage owner) if she came asking what the fuss was about?  It would wreck the whole plan (they needed to appear to be the “young fashionable couple on their wedding night”).  So he acted like he had not seen anything.  We only find out later that he uses that knowledge to convince the madhouse doctors that his wife (unknowing Sue) was deranged – remember when he told them in Maud’s interview that his wife had made unwelcome advances to her maid (Maud).  He used everything he could to his advantage, just like a crafty conman would.


Regarding Gentleman’s sexuality –
In the book, we are told (in Sue’s narration, I think) that in some circles, it is rumored that Gentleman is a “nancy” i.e. a gay man.  So I think we are to believe that Gentleman is gay.  He definitely indicated no sexual interest in any of the girls, never tried to take advantage of them in that sense.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that he was gay, but certainly adds to the point.  In the beginning, when he meets Maud at Briar and comes up to her room at night to present her with his scheme, she is startled at first and says something along the lines of: “I know nothing of what I read from my uncle’s books..” to which he says “I haven’t come for that, you can get that at any street corner..” No sexual interest right off the bat.  Then on their wedding night, Maud is huddled in bed when he grabs her arm and pulls her up, she flinches hard and then he says again: “I’ve told you I don’t want that.”  Still no sexual interest. 

And yeah, Charlie (the “shoeshine” boy, as you called him) was completely infatuated with Gentleman (who he thought was a saint, of course =).  He was even more keen on him in the book than in the movie.  I think Gentleman knew that Charles was sweet on him, but I don’t think he was about to get involved with a little bootboy when he had such big plans on the go, with so much money at stake.  Like you said, his entire motivation through the whole thing was $$$ - money! :)


I love that our discussion of TTV bled into Fingersmith.   :D


Back to Tipping... ~
How about we drift off to Nan and Diana for a sec. 
What did you make of Diana, of the 'arrangement' she had with Nan, or of her very open Sapphist lifestyle?  :)


Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2008, 03:29:36 pm »

Here are two rather gorgeous pics of Nan and Kitty I found recently:  :)








And with Diana:






Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2008, 07:29:03 pm »

Too bad Flo wasn't in these promo pics.. :)




Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2008, 08:44:49 pm »
Here are two rather gorgeous pics of Nan and Kitty I found recently:  :)








And with Diana:







Hi M!

Sorry for my slow reply to this great thread.  I think this discussion is just great.

I agree these are really lovely shots!  Where did you find them?


And, thanks for the great long reply about Gentleman.  I'd forgotten that it's more explicit in the book that he's gay or rumored to be so.  It's interesting to note how subtle the clues are in the mini-series and still it's not too difficult to come to that same conclusion (even without the help of the book).  The idea of reading or trying to read subtle signs of sexuality are interesting even with regards to him!

So, it seems that both TTV and Fingersmith at least touch on the subject of male homosexuality too in addition to lesbianism.

It is sort of interesting to compare TTV to Fingersmith. It seems that TTV is more of a constant meditation on the question of lesbian identity and lesbian love stories as the central theme for the whole narrative.  Whereas, in Fingersmith, the lesbian plot is just blended into lots of other complicated plots and situations and is not always the central focus.  To me Fingersmith seems to be a great example of what Sarah Waters has said about wanting to write period-style literature and write the gay characters back into the plots and narratives since they're usually so carefully glossed over and masked in lots of historic literature (from the 19th century, etc.).  It's nice to see the gay characters just blending in to a wider narrative (though it's also great, of course, when the lesbian characters' stories get pride of place).



Back to Tipping... ~
How about we drift off to Nan and Diana for a sec. 
What did you make of Diana, of the 'arrangement' she had with Nan, or of her very open Sapphist lifestyle?  :)

First of all, I love the pic of Diana in your post above... in that amazing dress with the big black bustle.  Amazing.  And, it seems like such a great costume to represent her in for this promotional still.  Historical women's clothing can be so fascinating.  :o

And, I've mentioned before that I think her voice is just awesome.  Anna Chancellor does such a great job with this over-the-top character. 

Anyway, my response to the whole Diana scenario has been complex and has evolved over time.  I recall when I first read the book, I thought that whole central section was sort of sensationalist and "over-the-top" in kind of a negative way.  Essentially, I liked everything about the book initially, except for the Diana part.  But, after watching the mini-series a zillion times and having read the book twice... I feel very differently about it.  As far as the mini-series goes and the visual depiction of that section, I think it's nice that they didn't shy away from some of the more "in your face" aspects of the sexuality that's so strong in the Diana storyline.  In a way, it's sort of sad to me that Diana's world is portrayed in such a negative way... I think there could have been another more positive way of depicting a wealthy, somewhat "liberated" lesbian who wasn't afraid of her sexuality or expressing it. 

But, I think the cruelty of how her character is portrayed as well as the mean-spiritedness of her society adds a nice layer of complexity into an understanding of lesbian culture.  It's maybe instructive to illustrate to the audience that lesbians don't always act in a benevolent way towards other lesbians.  I also think the Diana segment is important at highlighting how important class was to this whole situation... probably especially in Victorian England.  In addition, I think it was good that there was an illustration of how the butch-femme culture functioned in historical periods and how dressing the way they did actually facilitated public movements and facilitated going "out."  It's interesting to show that there was a pragmatic aspect to that kind of role-playing (as well as a sexual aspect).

So, now I actually quite like that segment (even though it's not a positive segment, so to speak).  I love the way Diana's portrayed and I think it's important in illustrating a certain kind of lesbian sexuality (seen in Diana's attitude) that's really all about lust... and not about true love or living happily ever after.  It just makes lesbian culture seem very complex.  To me it is hard to understand how Flo could accept Nan's story about her circumstance with Diana so quickly and relatively easily (at least in how Flo's reaction is portrayed in the mini-series).  Those were some pretty hardcore circumstances under which Nan was living. 


<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/3859590-0bc.jpg" border="0" />

Going back to Flo for a sec... how do you feel about the ending of the TTV mini series?  How do you think Nan's family will respond to Flo?  I'm sure it would be rough going with Alice.  And, I wonder if the revelation about Nan's sexuality will come as a complete shock to the rest of her family.  Her parents and brother seem very sweet but seem to be portrayed as rather naive.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Lumičre

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,283
Re: Sarah Waters: Books & Movies Discussion
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2008, 04:24:08 pm »

Howdy Amanda!  :)

Wish I could find a larger version of this pic..


<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/3859590-0bc.jpg" border="0" />



Do you have it?

This is a great shot of Nan before they head over to meet the parents... (more on that in my next post)..