Lady Chatterley Pascale Ferran

Lady Chatterley Pascale Ferran
This new adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (or more precisely, D.H. Lawrence’s lesser-known second draft) is strikingly unusual in many ways, and not just because of the initial vague feeling of disconnect produced by the spectacle of French actors playing British characters en Francais. Ferran’s film breathes prodigious life into the familiar story of the eponymous titled heroine’s torrid romance with her earthy gamekeeper. Ferran utterly avoids the conventional opulence of your standard period literary adaptation, while at the same time transcending the prurience of other quasi-softcore versions of the story. Her approach is disarmingly direct and matter-of-fact. Lady Chatterley’s sexual awakening is contextualised within a larger awakening to nature — images of the flora and fauna populating the verdant grounds of the estate take as much precedence as the often-graphic nudity. As well, the film pays careful attention to the historical context. Lord Chatterly’s literal and figurative impotence is delicately situated against the backdrop of the recent World War and its legacy of shattered lives. Marina Hands is disarmingly natural in the title role, and immensely likeable as well, while Jean-Louis Coulloc’h has a Brando-esque, sullen strength, coupled with a truly touching humility. Ferran’s film is a welcome addition to the venerable tradition of French humanism epitomised by Renoir and Assayas. The film’s quality is more than enough to earn the bare bones DVD a recommendation, even though it took multiple tries to get the English subtitles to work. (Warner)