Wednesday, 19 September 2018

At the crossroads of love and betrayal

BRINGING classic literary works to the big screen often proves to be incredibly popular with present-day

BRINGING classic literary works to the big screen often proves to be incredibly popular with present-day audiences.

Viewers are regularly transported back to an opulent world of magnificent houses and stylish clothes.

All of this is set against a backdrop of strict adherence to social convention that threatens to extinguish any romantic encounter.

The genre has an exceptional pedigree on film — think Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

Cinematic “re-imaginings” are an entirely different creature and that’s exactly how this week’s Gemma Bovery is billed.



Here you run the risk of upsetting the purists, but equally there is potential to attract new fans to the original.

In this case the original is Gustave Flaubert’s debut novel Madame Bovery from 1856, but director Anne Fontaine has adapted Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel Gemma Bovery.

It sees earthy British beauty Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) and her furniture restorer husband Charles (Jason Flemyng) move to a charming ramshackle old farmhouse in the very same Norman village where the novel was written a century earlier.

Their welcoming neighbour, local baker and Flaubert expert Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), becomes entranced with Gemma and sets out to be her guide and mentor to her new surroundings.

It doesn’t take long before he is drawing parallels between the literary and real life woman, while he insinuates himself into her life.

As reality sets in on the fantasy of rural French domesticity, the Boverys’ marriage begins to fray and Gemma is at a loose end.

She soon catches the eye of a handsome young playboy and when her magnetic ex suddenly reappears, she finds herself at a crossroads and seems to be fulfilling Joubert’s worst fears that her destiny is linked to that of Flaubert’s doomed heroine.

Gemma Bovery is now showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse.



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