A Long Fatal Love Chase

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A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

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I’m Putting You First: How to Steal a Million (1966)

Most Romantic Moment #10

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So I’ve mentioned before how this film was one I had been searching for, for a long, loong time. When I was young I watched a movie about stealing art that took place in France, but couldn’t remember the title, just the one scene. I was pointed toward To Catch a Thief, but it wasn’t how I remembered the film.

Really?

I figured I just had faulty memory and was done with it.

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Over ten years later, I decided to watch this movie as I love Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. As I started watching it, I had this sense of deja vu, but I was certain I’d never seen it before. It wasn’t until they played the one scene that I realized this was the movie I had been thinking of the whole time.

Finally something GOOD!

Finally!

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This is an absolutely hysterical heist film. Audrey plays Nicole Bonnet, daughter of a forger and leading citizen of Paris. She has been trying to get him to stop to no avail.

Parents

Parents

One night, she catches a bungling burglar, Simon Dermott (Peter O’Toole), who is more than what he seems. He likes her and tries to date her; but she wants nothing to do with him.

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Meanwhile, her father has allowed the museum to take the famed Cellini‘s Aphrodite (a forgery done by Nicole’s grandfather) for an exhibition. After he has signed off the museum paperwork, he discovers that the museum will be testing the statue in order to insure it.

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Both Nicole and her father know that such tests will show that it is a fake and bring ruin to both Bonnets. In order to stop it, Nicole hires Simon to steal it for her, using one  incredibly crazy scheme.

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Most Romantic Moment: I’ll Protect You and Your Family

*Spoilers*

So the most romantic moment comes at the end of the film. Simon and Nicole have successfully stolen the sculpture and Simon is hiding it.

Simon Dermott: [about the Cellini Venus] Oh! She’s fine. She’s wrapped up in one of my old shirts, just as snug as could be. I rocked her to sleep in my arms last night.

He takes Nicole out to dinner, and reveals that he isn’t an art thief. He is actually a private detective who specializes in art forgery; finding the criminals and gathering evidence that will send them to prison.

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Yeah not good for Nicole or her father. But because he loves Nicole he decides to not prosecute her father, (as long as he promises to not make or sell any more forgeries).

How romantic

How romantic

This is HUGE! It is his job! If word got out he would be in big trouble, and probably end up in prison for obstruction or accessory charges.

But for a man who has never settled and was only focused on work; he decided to put the girl he loved and her happiness first.

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous post, go to You’re Sad So I’m Making This Day Extra Special: The Bikini in the Soup, Bones (2011)

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For more Audrey Hepburn, go to Heart and Soul

For more Peter OToole, go to What is This Thing: Phantoms (1998)

For more heist films, go to I’m Here for You: The Italian Job (2003)

For more private detectives, go to I Don’t Care What You Think, She’s My Girl: A Trip to the Dentist, Veronica Mars (2005)

By Boat, By Train, By Foot, By Plane

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28) Somewhere You Would Like to Move to or Visit

There are actually quite a few places I would love to visit. As you all know, I’m all about history and art history so I would like to eventually travel the world and see some of these things.

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1) Italy

I’ve always wanted to see Venice, Rome, Florence, & Sicily. There’s the Sistine Chapel, the colosseum, Masaccio’s works, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci…I could go on and on.

Italian Job

For more in Italy, go to I Don’t Want to Own You, I Just Want to Be With You: A Room With a View (1985)

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2) Denmark

As stated before, I am Danish and really want to visit the country. I would love to go to the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, along with other

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3) Mexico

I have already been here once, but there is still so much I want to see, Chitzen Itza being one of them.

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4) Egypt

I have been obsessed with Egypt ever since I was young, I guess I saw The Mummy one too many times. I have always loved looking at the Pyramids and really want to see them in person one day. Although I probably die from heatstroke. 🙂 J/K

mummy

For more on Egypt, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

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5) England

Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Downton Abbey, North & South, Charles Dickens, the Beatles, the Who, etc. Some of the best things have come out of England and I would love to go visit, instead of reading about it.

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For more on England, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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6) Greece

Once again the Art and architecture call me to them. Not to mention the island of Crete and Mount Olympus.

I can do this....just have to wait for the right time

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7) China

I have always wanted to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Always.

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8) France

The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Impressionist artwork, etc. I would love to see this place as well.

For more on France, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

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9) Prince Edward Island

I LOVE Anne of Green Gables and really, really want to see the place. REALLY, really bad.

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For more on Prince Edward Island, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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10) Ireland

I took a class on Irish History and just fell in love with it. I really want to visit it now.

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11) Scotland

I have always wanted to visit Loch Ness and try and spot the Loch Ness Monster (it’s out there). And after seeing Braveheart and reading The Cat Who Series I was introduced into Scotland and it’s history, making me want to visit even more.

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12) All 50 States of the United States

I love American history as it is so interesting and complex. One day I want to visit every one of our states and every monument. So far I have been to Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Only 42 left to go. 🙂

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Ya Bothering Me

Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

Romantic Moment #10
gigi

Gigi (1958)

Gigi is a book, turned play, turned musical. The musical takes place at the turn of the century Paris, France. Gigi (played by Leslie Caron), is being trained by her Aunt to be a Courtesan. Now a courtesan is not a prostitute. Courtesans had one client and were treated well, often being given a home, jewels, money, etc. These women were often largely accepted by society, and were well treated by the people they were with.

So Gigi lives with her grandma, Madame Alvarez, and is unwillingly being trained by her Aunt. She doesn’t fully understand what it means be a courtesan, but thinks the lessons are boring and doesn’t want to be a courtesans. However, she dutifully goes to her lessons. Her favorite thing to do is spend time withGaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan).

Gaston is a very wealthy man who is bored with life. He has had everything he has ever wanted and and finds that life holds nothing for him. He spends his days having parties and with his courtesan, as he intends to never marry, but life is empty. The only time he finds joy is at Madame Alvarez’s home, with the adorable Gigi.

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One day when Gaston meets up with his courtesan at the ice-skating rink. There he discovers that she is cheating on him. He publicly dumps her and shames her, trying to show off how over her he is by throwing lavish party after lavish party. Eventually, he becomes bored of this as well and looks for something else to entertain him. He decides to visit the sea and stops by Madame Alvarez and Gigi before leaving. While there Gigi challenges him to a card game, if she wins then Gaston must take her and Madame along with him. She wins and the two join Gaston on his trip. While on holiday, Gaston and Gigi spend a lots of time together and discover that Madame used to have a relationship with Gaston’s uncle, Honoré Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier).

When they return, Aunt Alicia increases Gigi’s training in order to help her catch the eye of Gaston. Gigi tries, but continues to be awkward and  bumbling.

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However, they continue and purchase Gigi some grown up gowns instead of her standard childish things. Gaston sees her in an alluring gown and gets angry, yelling at her to not wear such things. He storms out, only to come back, as he realized that he is interested in her and doesn’t want her with any other man. He wants to take her out, but is refused by Madame Alvarez as his reputation could harm Gigi. He becomes upset again, but is convinced that her words do speak the truth. He then brokers a deal to make Gigi his mistress. But this doesn’t make Gigi happy. She refuses.

Gigi has discovered what the duities of a courtesan are, and doesn’t wish to be passed from man to man for the rest of her life. Everyone is shocked by her crudity, Gaston hurt by her refusal, and Aunt Alicia enraged that her granddaughter could give up such a person as Gaston. After a while Gigi sends for Gaston and apologizes. She tells him that she loves him and would rather be a courtesan with him, then spend a life without him.

That night the two go out to Maxims.

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While at Maxims Gigi is perfect in everything that a courtesan should be…but this upsets Gaston. He doesn’t like seeing her this way, this non-Gigi but a courtesan. He storms back to her house and sends her up to her Grandmother, taking off. Gigi and her grandmother start crying not sure why Gaston is upset and afraid that he might shame her.

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************Most Romantic Moment************

After Gaston has taken off for the third time, he goes on a walk trying to figure out why seeing Gigi as a courtesan upseted him. He wants her to be in his life, and he wants to be the only man in her life, so why is this troubling him? As he walks the streets of Paris he figures out why this made him so angry and he returns to Madame Alvarez’s home.

[after a long while, Gaston returns to Madame Alvarez’s apartmentGaston Lachaille: May I come in?

Madame Alvarez: Please, Gaston… no papers… no scandal.

Gaston Lachaille: Madame, will you do me the honour, the favour… give me the infinite joy of bestowing on me… Gigi’s hand in marriage? [Gigi, filled with relief and joy, draws to Gaston’s side]”

He realized that he was in love with her and didn’t want a courtesan and he didn’t want Gigi demeaned as a courtesan. He wanted Gigi as Gigi and he wanted her to be his wife!

Perfect!

Perfect!

He realized that he wanted Gigi forever, and that the thing he’d been fighting off (marriage) was the one thing he truly desired.

CantChangethem

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part III from the beginning, go to I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

For the previous post, go to You’re My Hero: Why Did I Get Married? (2007)

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For more period pieces, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more films based on a play, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial ‘M’ for Murder (1954)

For more musicals, go to Five to Nine

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Love Makes You Do Crazy Things: Hercules (1997)

Viva La Révolution

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So I decided to do this post in honor of Bastille Day! Yay! You know I find the French Revolution so fascinating on how things got so ugly, so quickly. Also the complete irony on how they tried to change everything about France and erase all shreds they were ever ruled by a monarchy, but yet at the same time, find themselves being ruled by a king in about 10 years. By the way this is Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix (1830) about the July Revolution of 1830 (the 26-29), which ousted King Charles X of France. For those of you wondering, this took place two years before the June Uprising depicted in Les Miserables. So in this image we have liberty, represented as a woman (as usual) leading the people onward. This painting helped end the Enlightenment period and made way for Romanticism, the style that revolved around political events and current issues to try and evoke emotion out of the viewer. The people in the image following liberty and the French flag, are a wide range of people from different classes. To the far left is a poor peasant, and next to him a member of the bourgeois in a top hat, and to the right of liberty a member of the military.

Anyways, this post is also a response to Girl on Firemy post on The Hunger Games quiz result I got. I mentioned how I would start a revolution as I have tried before at an Oxfam  banquet.

So at my school we do an Oxfam banquet every year that raised awareness of hunger and homelessness in the world, U.S. and city that we live in. Each person who visits picks a name/occupation out of a bowl and it determines where you will be placed, and what your economic status is. Those who are lower class are the majority, sit on the floor, are treated rudely, have to drink water with coffee grounds in it, share a thing of rice, and eat last. Those who are middle class are seated at tables and get clean water, beans, and rice. Those who are upper class get bread rolls, salad, clean water in glasses, eat off glass plates instead of paper, cookies, and some kind of meat dish. They get the most attention and there are only like five of them, but yet they have more tables set out with food that remain empty. Throughout the night they have speakers and do a discussion of how we felt about the activity.

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Now the first year I worked the bowl, holding it and making sure no one cheated, and all went to their right place. At the end of the shift, I pulled out a name and ended up getting upper class. Unfortunately, the waitstaff forgot to serve us the main dish so we only had salad and bread.

The next year they didn’t need volunteers so I just went with my friends. This year I got middle class (pooh) and in order to eat we had to do “chores”. They gave us a bag with holes in it and we had to clean up the newspaper pieces they had ripped and thrown about. The poorer class had it worse as they didn’t have a bag and the people get throwing more and more paper at them.

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So I came up with the idea to tie the holes up as otherwise, we were going nowhere. After we finished we got our nasty food (it was horribly done as our caf sucks). Then we sat there. Now we had plenty of food left over, and I tried to give it to the other group but they just wouldn’t take it. They felt that it was their role so they were going to accept that. Well I wasn’t. I saw all those tables with empty people and I was hungry. So I told my friends, let’s start a revolution! Look at all the uneaten food that is going to be thrown away afterwards. Let’s go get it. Come on, there is plenty for us. We won’t have to take anybody’s stuff, we won’t force them to do anything. We’ll just rise up and take the stuff we need. I was very much Maria from Metropolis.

Maria, leader of the Rebellion

Maria, leader of the Rebellion

 

Come on everyone! Let’s do this!

But sadly, none of my friends wanted to as they “thought they would get in trouble”.

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But I was like images

And went and took the food.

Yum!

Yum!

A few people followed my lead, but mostly everyone was too complacent to stand up for their rights or scared they would get kicked out. So what if we do? Then we do. That’s the problem with revolutions or fighting for a cause. You need others to fight with you, but sometimes you just can’t convince them to take that chance. 😦

According to Buzzfeed I’m a real revolutionary and belong during this time period

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Go here to see what time period you belong in

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For more of my favorite art, go to You’re Just So Pretty to Look At

For more on the French Revolution, go to Sucky Sequels

For more on The Hunger Games, go to The Hunger Games: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

For more on rebels, go to A True Princess

For more on Revolutions, go to Being Friends is Good Enough

I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

anastasia

Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

better man

But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

Dimitri

So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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Language of Love: Love Actually (2003)

Romantic Moment #1

Love Actually

Love Actually (2003)

So Love Actually is the first of those holiday inspired films that include a huge cast of stars who all have their own plotline, but are in actuality all connected to each other. You know films like Valentine’s Day & New Year’s Eve. Well this one takes place at Christmas, and even though this post is celebrating V-day, it is a perfect one to put on the list.

Now this film is even more complex in relationships than He’s Just Not That Into YouThere is Billy Mack, aging rock star trying to get back in the limelight. Peter just married Juliet, but his best friend Mark  is secretly in love with Juliet but has said nothing to honor his friend. Jamie, (who is friends with Peter, Julie, & Mark), had his last girlfriend cheat on him with his brother. He goes to France where he gets a Portuguese housekeeper that he develops feelings for. Harry is the direcctor of a design studio and married to Karen. He gets a new assistant, Mia, and thinks about stepping out on his wife. (Mia is friends with Mark.) Karen’s brother, David, has just begun his time as Prime Minister and develops feelings for Natalie, a girl who works for him. Daniel, friend of Karen, has just lost his wife and is raising his stepson. His stepson develops feelings for a girl and Daniel tries to help him win her heart. Sarah, (friend of Jamie, Peter, Julie, & Mark and employee of Harry) has feelings for Karl but her mentally ill brother, Michael, seems to throw a wrench in her plans. Colin, who hit on Mia, is tired of striking out with English women and journeys to America. John and Judy are body doubles for actors who meet at work.

Still confused?

Still confused?

Anyways so the story line that got on this countdown is Jamie & Aurélia’s. Jamie is a writer and uttery heartbroken when he discovers that his girlfriend was cheating on him with his own brother. He decides to go away to a little cottage in France to work and get away from it all. While there his landlady hires a Portuguese housekeeper, Aurélia, for him. Despite the fact that Aurélia can not speak any English and Jamie knows no Portuguese, the two form a bond and a spark comes to light.

When Jamie goes back to the UK, he starts taking a Portuguese language class so that he might return and share his feelings with Aurélia. On Christmas Eve, he leaves to find her and let her know how he feels.

With the help of Aurélia’s dad, Jamie is able to locate her and proposes to her (in Portuguese). We find out that Aurélia has been learning English in hopes that Jamie would come back.

So romantic

So romantic

Aww! Sooooo cute!