Read e-book online Black Narcissus (British Film Guides) PDF

By Sarah Street

Black Narcissus, now heralded as a masterpiece, is a landmark movie within the influential canon of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. With the centenary of Powell's delivery in 2005 this well timed book--the first devoted completely to the film--draws on archival records, unique set drawings and stills to illustrate its impressive achievements, either as a creation and as a motor vehicle for concepts. taking a look at the film's enduring photographs of either position and gender, Sarah road additionally examines Black Narcissus as a masterly technical accomplishment, in addition to a meditation at the finish of empire. taking a look too on the film's arguable reception via overseas critics and censors, and its next impression on experimental filmmakers, road explores problems with strategy, variety, functionality and interpretation to bare the ongoing relevance of the movie this day.

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Angu Ayah, for example, is aligned with Mr Dean in that she shares his scepticism about the nuns making a success of their mission. It is implied that she is an eccentric, permanent fixture of the palace; she was there when it was ‘The House of Women’ and she will be there when the nuns leave (Mr Dean calls her ‘a faithful, dirty old bird and goes with the place ’). Our first sight of her is when we follow her through the rooms and corridors, her swaying movements almost replicating the wind that blows through the palace.

Sister Ruth is the nun who is consistently represented as being dismissive of local customs, although on this occasion it is significant that at the end of the scene Mr Dean thanks Ruth for her actions, an incident that contributes to her growing infatuation with him. In their different characterisations the nuns therefore represent a spectrum of the British in India: Ruth as the uncompromising imperialist; Briony A N A LY S I S 41 as the professional who realises the limitations of their work; Blanche who wants the ‘natives’ to love her; Philippa who decides that being in Mopu is too powerful a distraction from her vocation; and Clodagh who realises only gradually that their work cannot be sustained.

Con was in America; he was over forty, but she could not believe that. 22 In contrast to the rugged masculinity represented by Mr Dean, the young General reacquaints the nuns with an appreciation for sartorial elegance, visual splendour and physical beauty. Clodagh listens to Sister Blanche’s detailed description of yet another sumptuous costume worn to school by the young General. At the mention of emeralds she is reminded of her grandmother’s footstool, as we cut to a shot of a footstool and Clodagh being shown an emerald necklace that her grandmother intends to give to her when she marries.

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