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Wuthering Heights


Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Andrea Arnold 
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Nichola Burley  
An image from Wuthering Heights

The classic novel by Emily Brontë has been screened not once and not twice. In fact, the 15th attempt to recreate the fascinating and mysterious story of challenging life and complex close relations of a poor young orphan named Heathcliff (James Howson) and his foster sister, Cathy Earnshaw (Kaya Scodelario), might turn out be one of the most artistic and meaningful ones. Andrea Arnold, Academy Award winning director, denying the principles of a costume drama you could have expected, uses the whole range of visual impacts to grasp that gloomy atmosphere of desperation from the original novel. Heathcliff’s wilderness, being one of the key ideas of the story, is reflected not only in his own actions and character, but in the complex bond of passion, love and lost control piercing through silence, nature, constant rain, violence and darkness, both outside and inside people’s minds and souls.

Arnold managed to transfer the classic text to a visual form, leaving aside sounds, dialogues and those undercover moral obligations of a mere interpreter, thus putting herself beyond retelling to the level of co-creation. She gives Heathcliff black skin, moving away from the Spanish-like gypsy, described in the novel. Free (shaky) camera adds an immediate sense of presence to the spectator’s perceptions, bringing out the raw feelings of characters and making them even more intense and real.

Watching this film is already a challenge, comparing it to the literary original might be quite complicated, but what is definitely worth trying – is to reveal the human truth behind the scenery and deeply penetrate into the visual wave of faded colours and hidden meanings.

Alina Vishniakova

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)