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Discuss how Peter Kosminsky's media representation of the opening of 'Wuthering Heights' sets up a supernatural theme for the rest of the film.

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Introduction

Daniel Harrop 10N 24th March 2003 Discuss how Peter Kosminsky's media representation of the opening of 'Wuthering Heights' sets up a supernatural theme for the rest of the film. Originally a pre 20th Century novel written by Emily Bronte, 'Wuthering Heights' is a tragic love story with a very high content of supernatural phenomenon, evil and revenge. It was published in 1847 and recently, in the early 1990's, Peter Kosminsky has adapted his thoughts of the novel to the big screen. For years critics have debated whether 'Wuthering Heights' is mainly from a romantic or gothic genre. Peter Kosminsky appears to privilege the gothic theme. In his version, the opening is very supernatural; this eerie theme continuing through the film. The novel itself is set in 1801 although Nellie, the housekeeper, tells the story which spans 30 years. Lockwood, Heathcliff's new tenant, arrives at Wuthering Heights. He stays the night and sees the ghost of Cathy. A few days later Nellie tells him the story of the two houses and how they contain jealousy, deceit and revenge. It is about the love of Heathcliff and Cathy, and their apparent quest for eternal love. At the beginning of the film Kosminsky, has added something that is not in the novel. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning of the film an orchestral, flute-like soundtrack is introduced slowly, until the title credits appear. The graphics are old, weathered and aged; super imposed over an isolated image of the moors, on to which a hooded figure of Bronte walks into the picture from the foreground. The flute-like music is in time with her movement and sounds very lonesome and eerie. Kosminsky uses this to intensify the fact that Bronte is solitary and poised at the beginning of something beyond un-natural and entering the realms of the supernatural. Music is not the only sound Kosminsky uses. Sound effects are also use to show the state of the weather, and the path the novel will take, more clearly. Although the weather is overcast, he uses sound effects to signal that a storm is beginning to brew. This hints at the route the story might take and the tempestuous relationship between the characters. After Bronte's opening narration, Kosminsky uses the same camera angle of the ruin as he does to open the next. This next moment is Lockwood riding up the path on a white horse. The white horse was specifically chosen so that it, once again, symbolises the good in the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera angle changes back to the shot of the door with the fire flickering and casting eerie shadows on the walls and furniture. Hareton enters first and walks towards the camera, he carries a gun and is dressed in animal fur. Kosminsky uses mise-en scene to show the wild nature in Hareton's character. Heathcliff follows and also walks towards the camera. Kosminsky however makes him seem much bigger than Hareton, this shows the importance, power and leadership in Heathcliff. By having the fire flicker on his face, Kosminsky doesn't just use his size to show dominance, he has Heathcliff become part of the fire and flame, and thus part of hell. This clearly shows a supernatural, sinister and satanic side to Heathcliff. He then abruptly departs with Hareton, leaving Lockwood in the capable hands of young Catherine. Juxtaposed against Heathcliff's lack of hospitality Catherine is angelic, again showing the ambiguity of the story. The pivotal moment in the film is when Cathy's ghost appears at, and smashes through, the window. Throughout the opening Kosminsky has dropped several hints of a supernatural theme. This scene acts as a catalyst to ensure that the audience, if they don't already, know the main theme of the film. Successfully showing his version of the novel, Peter Kosminsky has used a gothic and supernatural genre to drive the 'unnatural', almost incestuous love story to his conclusion beyond the grave. ...read more.

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