Tag Archives: Helena Bonham Carter

Gothic Beauty of Miss Havisham

14 Apr

Miss Havisham is one of my favourite literary heroines ever. Eerie, self-pitying, decadent and grotesque figure who occupies cold chambers without a ray of daylight, chambers that resemble tombs more than fine rooms fit for a mansion. Her presence shrouds the novel in a veil of mystery, and her story is so interesting it could make a novel for itself. I think Helena Bonham Carter was brilliant as Miss Havisham, and I could gather quite some inspiration by merely looking at the photo below.

helena bonham carter miss havishanHelena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (2012)

In an arm-chair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.

She was dressed in rich materials – satins, and lace, and silks – all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, and half-packed trunks, were scattered about. She had not quite finished dressing, for she had but one shoe on – the other was on the table near her hand – her veil was but half arranged, her watch and chain were not put on, and some lace for her bosom lay with those trinkets, and with her handkerchief, and gloves, and some flowers, and a prayer-book, all confusedly heaped about the looking-glass.

It was not in the first few moments that I saw all these things, though I saw more of them in the first moments than might be supposed. But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.

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Ode to Tim Burton

24 Jan

Drawing is exercise for a restless imagination.‘ – Tim Burton

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The thing I love the most about Tim Burton is that he creates a whole new worlds in his movies. By watching any of them, you can simply dive into this new dimension, new aesthetic, new, crooked, vision of reality; Tim Burton’s reality. And his world is not dark and negative as one may think, quite the opposite, Tim Burton’s world is like a refuge for an outsider, magical and full of hope, dark and funny at the same time. As Burton had said himself ‘I am not a dark person and I don’t consider myself dark.‘ It’s the truth, Kafka’s work is dark and heavy, Burton’s is magical and inspirational.

I consider Tim Burton one of my greatest inspirations. He gave me the first vision of the Victorian era; a vision which has haunted me ever since. Although I’ve read a lot about Victorian era, and I know Burton’s version is not accurate, I prefer it above all. I like how he took the very essence of this time period and, combined with many other influences, created a new aesthetic. One can really say that something is in ‘Tim Burton’s style‘ for he created a world completely new, fresh and exciting which I think is hard to do in this modern world because everything has already been seen, and tried out. The modern man has dipped his finger in everything. There’s not a fresh well in art, music or literature, every one has by now been tainted by modern culture.

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The contrast between Classicism and Gothic Art, can be well translated onto the clash between the mainstream and Tim Burton. Where the Classicism was organised and proper, the Gothic was chaotic, where classic was pure and simple, the Gothic was crooked and ornate; the classics offered a world of clear rules and limits, whereas the Gothic represented something wild, exaggerated, dark and uncivilised. Classics represent the mainstream culture; unimaginative, worn-out ideas, conformity; a world created for mediocrity. On the other hand, Tim Burton’s world is a world of gothic fantasy, macabre, silly characters, with all the human flaws exposed in villains; it’s a world of outsiders, a world Burton had created for himself and that’s what makes it so genuine. His world is a reflection of who he is, and that’s how it should be with all the artists, directors, writers…

For me, Tim Burton epitomizes the very term of ‘modern Gothic‘ in a way that he perfectly captures the spirit of the Victorian era with obvious Gothic and Romantic elements, but all together, he succeeds in creating a magical, dreamy and spooky world of his own. He’s very good at reinterpreting the past, which is inevitable in art, and still managing to create something completely new and original.

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Burton was not only inspired by works of Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, but also carried on with the style they had created, in Burton’s works enriched by the experience of living in an American suburb and being a loner. I already mentioned how I developed my first vision of the Victorian era as a result of watching Tim Burton’s movies, and although I’ll basically watch any movie that he directs, some are more dear to me than the others.

To tell it bluntly, I was reborn after seeing Sweeney Todd for the first time! This movie enchanted me, I knew all the songs by heart and sang them all they long, I drew the characters, I wrote many short stories based on that ‘Burton’s Victorian London‘. I can’t even put it in words how much it influenced me in everything that I’ve done, and how it affects my work now still. Other movies that I really loved would probably be Corpse Bride and Sleepy Hollow, not to mention Frankenweenie and Alice in Wonderland.

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Another thing that I find inspirational about Tim Burton are his drawings, for really, there lays the whole essence of his later projects. Everything begins on the paper, and it is clear from the style of his movies that they developed from his love of drawing. ‘Don’t worry about how you ‘should’ draw it. Just draw it the way you see it.‘ This Burton’s quote has inspired me to really draw what comes out of my mind, no matter what it is, and to be more focused on creating a new world for myself and fulfilling the needs of my imagination than on the final result.

Tim Burton’s style is very recognisable, full of figures with big sad eyes, whirlwinds, swirls, long dark hallways, winding staircases, weird monsters, candles, skeletons, graveyards, etc. He mostly uses dark, dreamy colours such as black, purple, blue, crimson red, white, but many vivid colours too, depending on the effect he’s trying to create. Time and the setting don’t even matter when it comes to Burton’s movies, his characters live in their own universe. What started as weird and unconventional childish drawings developed into a whole new imaginary world that draws people in with its appealing aesthetics and interesting characters.

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The word normal always scares me.‘ – Tim Burton

Dark Shadows – Tim Burton meets Psychedelia

14 Sep

In August I’ve finally watched Tim Burton’s film Dark Shadows (2012) and it fulfilled all the expectations I have of this brilliant director.

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Always expecting the best from one of my favourite film directors – Tim Burton, I naturally had great expectations out of this film. My high hopes have happily been fulfilled for I am very pleased what this movie has to offer; it’s very Burton styled, it has witty dialogues, great costumes designed by Collen Atwood and most importantly for me – it binds together typical Burton’s gothic aesthetics with psychedelia of the 1972, that is, the year the movie is set in. That’s a perfect combination for me, and I confess that, since I love 1960s and early ’70s hippie fashion, I’ve often wondered how would Tim Burton combine it, and that I’ve seen what kind of costumes did Collen design I am very much inspired in fashion sense. What’s very funny to me in the movie is Barnabas’ mindset that is trapped in the 18th century and his first meeting with the completely different culture of 1972. is hilarious. Barnabas is fascinated with things that are completely foreign to him at the same time; music, television, cars and hippie (the unshaven young people, as he calls them).

Collinswood is such a lovely estate, I would love to have been able to grow up in such an old mansion, especially if its wooden carvings would also come alive at night. Aesthetics of the movie are very inspirational for me; from costumes to the amazing decorations and family portraits. Collinswood is a mansion whose grand halls I would love to wonder through, whose candles I’d enjoy lighting, from whose windows I’d gaze to the wilderness. I can imagine myself having Carolyn’s bedroom; a psychedelic style decorated room with yellow carpet, vivid purple walls covered with posters of Iggy Pop and various other musicians of the time. It’s very bright, groovy, colourful and inspirational.

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What’s also very interesting about the film are the characters that are all very personalised; they have minds of their own, and their fashion styles perfectly match their personalities. There are five femmes in the movie and all of them have a different fashion style, all of which I like except Angelique’s because hers is very bold and matches her evil, cruel personality.

Elizabeth Stoddard, Carolyn’s mother, is a Collins family matriarch and a very strong-willed and active woman, most of all loyal to her family. Michelle Pfeiffer was excellent in this role; she carried herself with dignity and elegance, while still being rather conservative, intuitive, stern and strict. Her fashion style goes in hand with her personality. Elizabeth certainly couldn’t be pictured wearing hippie garments her daughter is seen in, no, her style is quite the opposite; she almost all the time wears very 1940s revival dresses in solid colours. bishop sleeves and nice necklaces, accompanied by very stylish, also ’40s style, high heeled shoes.

Dark Shadows

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Dark Shadows

Elizabeth’s fifteen year old daughter Carolyn is a typical teenage girl; isolated, rebellious and misunderstood. She is usually found listening to music or dancing on s0me psychedelic tunes, dressed in colourful and groovy hippie clothes. I very much like her style; her vivid coloured tights, big leather belts, floral printed shirts and dresses that usually have an interesting cut.

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Victoria Winters is a polite, gentle, proper and introverted young lady, but only on the first sight. She actually has secrets of her own; she escaped a mental institution her parents placed her into because she had a gift of speaking with ghosts and is in fact some kind of reincarnation of Josette, Barnabas’ love from the eighteenth century. Victoria’s fashion style, again, reflects her personality; she’s usually dressed in neat, proper school-girl styled dresses and shirts.

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Julia Hoffman, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is rather vain and laid back family doctor, always sleeping one of her legendary hangovers. Her style matches the bohemianism and casual attitude connected to her personality and she’s often seen wearing interesting piece dresses, some of which resemble Biba style that was popular at the time in UK, combined with sunglasses, bold make up and sometimes a pair of knee high socks.

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