i know that so many others have blogged beautifully about bright star, and really this is just co-opting some of the movie's gorgeousness for my own little space. but i watched it again last night and am still in that galaxy. i even bought a long wool gabardine coat with velvet trim at the good will that has no other use than for walking in the heath. but is there heath here in the south? what is a heath exactly?
one thing that interests me about this sublime intro to the film is that the needle almost seems to move of its own accord - it is the prime mover (and not to reduce everything to psychomumble, but how phallic!) but we know it is in fanny's deft hands, and we see a flash, here and there, of a finger. and then she appears quietly, quietly, all in white and shadow, stitching.. for the entire film to start with this needle and fabric and thread, it must signify. the stitching together of lives and hearts, and the needle that pierces every time it joins. it is a fully heartbreaking story after all.
in the film, fanny's stitching seems related somehow to her own sense of self-actualization. she has a self-contained sort of presence, and especially so when she is stitching. but when she is desperate for a letter from keats, she won't stitch. and it is her art, and something she takes great pride in. it is directly related to her beauty since she designs and sews her wardrobe. it's something she uses to care for those she loves - creating pillow-slips, mending holes. and it's also something that is used (by charles) to denigrate her, and associated with fun, frivolity, humor, "french ribbon" - as opposed to the oh-so-serious intellectual (and manly) work of making art with words. if she is stitching in the first scene, she is reciting poetry at the last. i'd love to hear what anyone else thinks about all this..
and i just have to add this, another favorite scene, since a thing of beauty is a joy forever and all..