Friday, 28 February 2014

Byzantium


Film, 2012

Possible Triggers:
Implied rape
Cut wrist (accidental)
Blood and violence

Byzantium is different to most other vampire films. I chose this cover picture because I think that, more than images of gore and blood, it exemplifies what is at the heart of the story. You can see from their body language Clara's toughness and protectiveness for Eleanor, who is both slightly resentful and rebellious, and also vulnerable and childlike still, after so many hundreds of years of existence.

Here we have a tale that has a dark, feminist undercurrent. When Clara, a dying prostitute steals the directions to the source of vampire power and takes immortality into herself, she breaks the rules of the boy's club of vampires, an ancient race made up only of men, who seem to despise women. In the present day, life is hardly better for her, as she is still forced to work as a stripper and prostitute for her living, despite her powers, as she hides from the society that still seek her demise. While the always beautiful Gemma Arterton looks fantastic in skimpy clothes, I felt that there was a point being made here, about the role of women in society, and the flashbacks to her miserable past make this very clear.

Her daughter, Eleanor is an eternal teenager, doomed to an eternity of school and desperate to tell her story to anyone. A lonely creature, an adult in the body of a child, she writes her own story and throws it into the waves, talks to an old dying man and becomes involved with a young man who is, himself, very near death. She is drawn to those on the edge of life, and only takes lives of those who are ready to die, unlike her mother who is, perhaps, in her own eyes, an avenger of women. She is intense and a little frightening to the humans, who think of her merely as a rather disturbed young girl. The scene where she talks to the headmistress, calmly and cooly and says that maybe, when the headmistress is an old woman, she will walk by so she will know that she really is immortal is just a little beautifully chilling. Yet Eleanor still retains a childlike innocence and vulnerability, desperately wanting to be understood, and to break free of her mother, like any young woman.

The two go to stay in a British seaside town, which is very grey and bleak, in an old almost empty guesthouse called Byzantium. The name of the guest house may refer to the William Butler Yeats poem that speaks of 'no country for old men' and being gathered into 'the artifice of eternity'. In the real city of Byzantium, worship of Hecate was also apparently popular, interestingly enough she is a goddess of witchcraft and magic which seems to hint again at the idea of the persecution of powerful women. She was also worshipped for her protection of families, which echoes Clara's overprotective treatment of her daughter.

Eleanor refers to their kind as soucriants/soucouyants, after the Carribean vampire witches. I find this very interesting, as, apart from these two, their kind is made up only of men. Perhaps this was Clara's idea, always wanting to remember their bond and strength of women, the strength she stole from the men.

Jonny Lee Miller is excellent as the thoroughly horrible Ruthven, who tricks the teenage Clara into coming to a brothel with him and then leaves her there after raping her, forcing the innocent young girl onto the path to prostitution, and her eventual doom from disease. Ironically enough, the gift of immortality was in fact intended for him rather than her, and by stealing it, she punishes her attacker with his own long wasting death of syphilis, while taking immortality for herself. Back in this era, she had sent her daughter to a convent school, supporting her with her wages from the brothel, to try and give the child a better life than herself, but those plans are destroyed. She is a fiercely protective mother, perhaps overly so after so many hundred years, now that Eleanor is no longer a child in anything but form.

Although Clara uses her beauty and body to pay the bills or get them a home, when she is with her daughter, it is clear her only real affection is for her, and she feels nothing in regards to the men. Indeed, her Regency past is clearly a miserable one, most notably her illness, and her desperate decision to keep her baby after she is told to kill it. In the modern day, she attempts to protect her child by telling her nothing of those who want to kill them.

Clara tries to rescue girls in her own, rather misguided way, killing a dangerous pimp, bringing drug addicted street walkers back to the old hotel to work there under her eye in relative safety. It is clear she sees herself in these girls. It is sad that, with all her immortal life and strength, she has never managed to escape her life as a prostitute. Unlike the vampires in many other stories, she has not become rich or powerful, but still lives a poor and miserable life on the run.

The settings and costumes were well done. I enjoyed seeing the town in two different eras, and the mix of the Regency era, which I love, with the present day. Gemma Arterton really suited Regency style, and would most likely have been considered quite pretty in that era, having the kind of busty figure that was popular back then, and, despite the horribleness of his character, it is impossible to deny after four movies/series set in the Regency era (Byzantium, Byron, Emma and Mansfield Park - he was actually in two different versions of this) that Jonny Lee Miller practially belongs in the Regency era.

This is definitely a movie that offers more than the usual campy or gory delights of the modern vampire movies (although there is not a lack of blood or action in Byzantium). It is a movie that makes us question the nature of our own society. We have come so far with technology yet we still live in a world where women are victimised and marginalised. Are the street prostitutes of the modern day seaside down so different from those back in the past? It is also shows a rare strong family bond between two of the characters, a protective mother and her daughter who wants to break free. This movie has really stayed with me and I recommend it completely!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Thank You!


Wow! I have been overwhelmed recently by the number of comments and the sweet things people say! I just want you all to know that I read and appreciate every comment I receive and your kindness warms my heart! Those of you who have blogs, your writing also inspires me! Thanks to all my followers, old and new!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Blog Tag- 10 Questions x2!

Stolen off Sary Walrus of The Walrus Room 

Nominee Questions from Sary:

1. Who is your biggest character crush from any television show, film or book and why? I love the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices books, and I am a total Jace Wayland Fangirl. In the words of the meme, 'I don't always fangirl, but when I do, it's over Jace Wayland.' He is one of the most sarcastic people ever and I am a sucker for sarcasm. Not to mention, he's really gorgeous, has tattoos with mystic powers, kills demons and wears a lot of black! Other than Jace, I also like Will Herondale (from The Infernal Devices) and Lestat de Lioncourt.




2. Talk us through your everyday hair routine. Are you a curler, straightener or hairstyle kind of person. Until the 12th of this month I had about 21cm of hair from scalp to end. It was very long, and I had to lift it out the way when I lay down because lying on it sometimes hurt, but tying it up hurt too. The back of my head hurt from the weight. I enjoyed doing elaborate plaited hairstyles with it like this and these ones. I used Agran oil to keep it strong and soft. Then I cut it all off and now I just comb it once after I wash it.

3. If you were any subset of Goth style, what would you be and why? Romantigoth or Victorian Goth, it's hard to decide, because the literature obviously influences both, and I don't think they are hugely dissimilar. I always used to refer to myself as Romantigoth since I was drawn to the dark romance. I came to Gothic through Victoriana and the Gothic genre and my renewed interest came through Steampunk. I am also inspired by faery and ethereal style.





4. Continue the above question, within that style, what would be your holy grail outfit? At the moment I want this dress from Hello Batty. I would also love all of Moi Meme Moite's blue stuff! Generally just awesome Victorian jackets and dresses.

5. Who is your top three favourite YouTubers? I mostly discover new music on YouTube rather than watch videos. I do love the Gothic Lolita style of  Fille de Porcelaine and the amazing tutorials of Klaire de Lys, especially this! Do Maru and Simon's Cat count? Also musicians like Adrian von Zeigler.

6. If you were to try and sell your all-time favourite beauty product, in three sentences what would you say?
I don't really use beauty products, I love makeup looks that others have but I am terrible at it and have really sensitive skin. I guess my favourite product would have to be my Aveeno natural oatmeal moisturiser. I can't really think of what I would say except that I have sensitive skin and it works for me.

7. Can you name something that you enjoy eating, a meal or anything, that is actually vegan? I don't know, pretty sure even chips contain preservatives that might not be vegan.

8.Your job is to write the most Gothiest (I can't believe I just wrote that as a word) novel possible, what would you title it and what would the blurb say? OK, everytime I try to do this I seriously end up liking the idea and wanting to turn it into an actual story, so I give up! :P

9. Name one thing that you wanted all through your childhood that your parent(s)/guardian(s) would never have let you get, even if you don't want it now? A carousel of my own!

10. If you had to get one body modification of your choice (piercings, scarification, tongue splitting, implants, tattoos, etc) what would you get? Maybe that Dali elephant tattoo that I always wanted. I was trying to remember the other day why I never got it, although I do like the sleeve I ended up getting. Also I know it's kind of insanely fangirly, but I kind of want this as a tattoo:


More questions from the original tag

1. What is your favorite makeup brand and why?
As I said before, I don't wear makeup much, I generally just like a bit of eye pencil or eyeliner.
2. What is one thing you never leave home without?
My bag. Usually a book unless the book is accidentally in another bag. I hate travelling without a book to read!
3. What is your current fashion obsession?
I will always love Victorian style, I am also influenced by a range of other styles including 1920s. I am currently inspired by 80s and 90s Goth, movies such as The Crow and The Craft, and Gothic Lolita fashion.









4. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  I want to visit America, Japan, Scotland, more of England...
5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
  If I counted right, not including the backup pair of ankle boots I won't wear 'til my current pair wear out, a pair that are pretty much worn out but I don't want to get rid of and a pair I want to sell, I have three pairs of mary janes, three pairs of ankle boots, one midcalf and two knee high. So seven that are in use.
6. Are you more of an artist or an athlete?
An artist. I enjoy dancing to the right music, but I am not a sporty person. I am extremely clumsy and have no 'fast twitch' muscles whatsoever. I love to sew and write (you can read some of my writing on my blog, check out the 'writing' tab).
7. Would you rather take a plane or go for a long car ride?
I would rather take a plane, it could take me to more places! You can't drive to any other countries from Australia, unless you had some magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang amphibious car!
8. What is your biggest fear?
That's a hard one. Getting some long drawn out wasting disease with no cure, I suppose.
9. What is your favorite genre of music?
 I don't really know much about genres, I would say a lot of music I listen to is generally called Goth? I also love Victorian inspired, Celtic, Musicals and Opera. Here are some of the bands I like: Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Nox Arcana, Rasputina, Abney Park, Unwoman, Dead Can Dance, Tom Waits, Agnes Obel, Loreena McKennit, Mozart, Inkubus Sukkubus, The Cure, Gilbert and Sullivan, Edith Piaf, David Bowie, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, The Parlour Trick, Sopor Aeternus and the Symphony of Shadows, Switchblade Symphony...
10. What is your favorite holiday?
  Maybe Halloween, although it's not big in Australia, and I have never gone to a proper Halloween party. But there was this one year when I was a kid when the supermarket kept giving out Halloween masks and things in a little gift bag for weeks, and every week for maybe 3 weeks, we played at Halloween on a Wednesday in the evening.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Outfit Update

January

January was a big crafting month but not a big event month. Tea Duelling was the only real thing I went to. I also had my crafternoon and I have worn that blue dress I made once in January and once in February.


Blouse: Secondhand from a friend
Skirt: Gallery Serpentine, bought off a friend for a great discount!


Blouse: Secondhand. I love the attached tie bit but it doesn't show up too well in pictures.
Skirt: Secondhand


Waistcoat: Some store, a long time ago
Blouse: Secondhand, part of a swap I did with a friend.
Skirt: secondhand. It has awesome sequinned details that refused to show up in the picture:
 

Februrary



'Doll' shoes from Clothing swap.



Jacket: Secondhand
Waistcoat: Secondhand
Skirt: Secondhand

 

Dark blue button up vest/waistcoat- secondhand
White shirt- clothing swap
Purple mesh skirt- secondhand




Grey dress- secondhand


TUK satin Chinese Mary Janes- clothing swap

1920s inspired outfit, I didn't have the 20s hairstyle yet then! The next day I took a couple of photos in the same outfit with short hair.
















Lace jacket and dress secondhand


Haircut day! Wednesday 12th Feb!

Purple cardi- borrowed off boyfriend's mum
Black chenille dress with black lace insert, bought years ago at discount outlet