Thursday, May 28, 2015
Delightful Dialectic Discussions ~ Movie Edition
[I am having technical difficulties with my blog. My handsome tech guy says that the application I was using to write blog posts, Windows Live Writer, no longer "talks" to Blogger due to issues between Google and Microsoft, and I have terrible luck composing posts through Blogger. It might be days or weeks before the issue is fixed (if it gets fixed at all), so I'll have to limp along. We'll see if the formatting is messed up in this post. It has been years since I have published posts directly through Blogger. Please bear with me!]
For years now I have loved both movie versions of Pride and Prejudice. It is partly because I was already familiar with the story that I had not read the book. For the most part, I enjoy the suspense of a narrative, and knowing the ending takes away much of the fun for me! It was ridiculous that I hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice, however, so I added it to my to-read list this year and finished it on Monday.
Both movie versions (with Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen) follow the story line so closely and retain so much of the original dialogue, that I felt as if I had already read the original novel! And reading put me in the mood for watching, so last night I had to watch the Colin Firth version, which I hadn’t watched in quite some time.
The boys begged to watch it with me. Yes, my boys. And so, of course, I let them, even though it was past a reasonable hour.
As we watched the first “episode” together, I thought I should pause the movie and explain just how difficult it was in that culture to have five daughters and no sons, and how important it was to mothers and fathers to see daughters married well. Luke, my fire-eating almost-eleven-years-old son, piped up. Like in Fiddler on the Roof!
Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. YES!
These kids, they are paying attention. They are making connections. Even when it isn’t a planned school lesson. Go figure.
And so, we wondered together…
How are the movies similar? How are they different?
Where and when are the movies set?
Both stories are about a family of five daughters. The mother and father are consumed with the desire to see them married well in a culture that requires women to be married for their own security. The conflict of the story centers around the struggles of marriage culture and traditions. Three girls are married by the end of the story. One of the girls marries against her cultural and religious norms and is somewhat ostracized from the family.
One is a movie based on a period novel. The other is a movie version of a musical based on older tales.
One story is set in England and the other is set in a Jewish village in Russia.
The characters in Pride and Prejudice were native English, but the characters in Fiddler on the Roof were considered foreigners (so there was an additional culture conflict).
Pride and Prejudice ends happily and Fiddler on the Roof ends sadly.
The boys thought that Fiddler on the Roof occurred maybe about 100 years before Pride and Prejudice until Levi pointed out that Tevye’s family was poorer than the Bennet family, so the setting might be “deceivingly primitive.” And didn’t one of the daughters in Fiddler travel by train? That would have to be mid 1800s or later. Both were set in the time of horses and carts and carriages—before cars were common.
[Pride and Prejudice was set in early 1800s. Fiddler on the Roof was set in early 1900s.]
What else is going on at that place and around the world at the time?
Pride and Prejudice happened after the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution (but before the Civil War). It was set in England during the British Regency.
Fiddler on the Roof was set on the verge of Revolutionary Russia (pre-WWI).
[This discussion could go on and on…]
Are Jewish traditions similar to the English societal rules?
The Jewish tradition for marriages included a matchmaker, and the girls sometimes did not meet their husband until the marriage. In both cultures, girls often married for security rather than love. Both movies showed dancing scenes where there were specific rules for how the people interacted, but women and men were separated in the Jewish dancing.
Have you watched both movies? Have you ever thought of comparing the two? What are your thoughts?