Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited
Given my distinct distaste for foppish aristocratic wannabes, it took a long flight to Mumbai to persuade me to watch the recent Brideshead Revisited adaptation. The movie is little more than an extravagant travelogue set between Oxford, Castle Howard in Yorkshire, Venice and Morocco. However, I was intrigued as to why such a fusty old Tory as Evelyn Waugh had written what seemed to be such a damning attack on Catholicism and the upper classes.

According to that lodestar of literary criticism Wikipedia, the novel was intended to persuade post-war atheists of the redeeming nature of faith and the gentle qualities of the English artistocracy. This was somehow translated into a film that showed the Catholic church destroying the lives of everyone it touched, and contrasted the straightforward hard work of the middle-class narrator Charles Ryder and his father (and fleetingly, his working-class Yorkshire NCO) with the decadant Marchmain family. Perhaps director Julian Jarrold is a secret class warrior. If so, I thoroughly approve ;)

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