A new book and film club for avid readers and Deptford cinephiles. Every second Sunday afternoon of the month, we will meet up to watch a film adaptation of a book or a writer’s biopic. After the screening, there will be an informal chat about the book and the film, upstairs in the bar. There will be cake!
dir. Kenneth Branagh
MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN (1994)
based on the novel
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This month, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with a season of film adaptations, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Branagh’s intention was to make "less a horror film than a larger-than-life Gothic fairy tale." This is Frankenstein at fever-pitch, a frantic retelling of Shelley’s haunting tale of the creation of a monster.
The film is driven by delirious grief, the ramifications of science when applied to life and death, and the revenge wreaked by a rejected Robert De Niro as the monster. Commencing in the frozen wasteland of the North Pole, it continues as a series of flashbacks. A vow to defeat death, made over his mother’s grave, leads to Victor Frankenstein’s diabolical experimentation that ignites life in a corpse. With each attempt to subvert nature through scientific advancement, there are terrible repercussions that lead to further tragedy.
This Gothic tale offers the reader no solace, but perhaps the process of writing did. Mary Shelley was said to have written her story after a ghost storytelling contest by the lake of Geneva, and it was also penned in the aftermath of three miscarriages.
Reading from the original 1818 edition, we will be discussing the big themes of the story, looking at the influences in this young writer’s life, and the context of science, then and now.
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?–
Paradise Lost (x. 743-5)