I was reminded of this quote from Emmanuel’s interview with British actress Zawe Ashton…
One of my friends said that it feels like we’re on the ladder, but we still have like 80% to go, you know? So we’re there. It feels like we’re here, but it’s just that forward motion, that forward movement, that it sometimes feels doubtful. That seems to be the main thing. And all of a sudden something like Wuthering Heights, which came out just now, Andrea Arnold’s film, casting a black actor as Heathcliff. You know, “Wow!” Your head kind of starts worrying, because you’re like, “Yes. We have been in this country for centuries, and we do belong in period drama.” We seem to recycle period dramas that focus on worlds where we do not exist, unless it’s in a serving position. And we all know that we’ve been here inventing and travelling, for a much longer period of time.
It’s been about a year since it made its world premiere at the Venice FIlm Festival in 2011; since then, it’s been released almost all over Europe and parts of Asia, and will finally see a USA release this fall, courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which picked up North American distribution rights to Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights, with plans to release the film theatrically in New York on October 5, with a national roll-out to follow.
An epic love story that spans childhood well into the young adult years, the film follows Heathcliff (in Arnold’s version, a black boy), who is taken in by a Yorkshire farmer, Earnshaw. Living in Earnshaw’s home on the windswept moors, Heathcliff develops a passionate relationship with the farmer’s teenage daughter, Cathy, inspiring the envy and mistrust of his son, Hindley. When Earnshaw passes away, the now-grown characters (played by Kaya Scodelario, James Howson and Lee Shaw) must finally confront the intense feelings and rivalries that have built up throughout their years together.
The film, maybe known more for its casting of a black actor to play “Heathcliff” as Zawe notes above (portrayed by young British actors Solomon Glave, and James Howson as the adult Heathcliff), made its USA premiere at the Sundance Film Festival early this year, screening in the Spotlight section.
None of us at S&A has seen it yet, but that will be recitified shortly.
Reviews of the film have been mixed since its debut last year, although the first full trailer (now with dialogue, unlike the previous one) promises what should be a painterly, lush picture, very much in Arnold’s handheld camera, naturalistic style of filmmaking.
Watch (courtesy of Vulture):