Lusty, dark, shocking, subversive: all words you will see used to describe the new film by director William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth. This gothic tale of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who turns to sex, manipulation and ultimately violence to escape from her confines, is also quiet, beautiful, thought provoking and intelligent. For lovers of period drama expecting another Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice or even Jane Eyre, maybe this is not the film for you. Even if you are unaware of the novel this film is based off, the Shakespearean reference to Lady Macbeth in the title will send warning bells, leading a tenseness to the beginning of the film which starts slowly and gently, but always hinting, whispering of the violence to come.
Throughout time art movements have gone beyond just one medium to create an over arching artistic goal, that of a harmonious total work of art. Design, art, literature and music do not ever exist independently, but feed off each other and complement each other. The experience we have when viewing a work of art is never a truly objective one, we cannot separate our own time, opinions, biases and influences from the work we view. And so art is never static, it is ever changing and evolving in the eyes of those who view it, like editions of a book.
Today it is hard to find anywhere that is a “total work of art” in the sense that art movements such as Art Nouveau and the Bauhaus intended. They wanted to create a world where everything was harmonious and adhered to one manifesto. But we live surrounded by design, from rubbish bins to skyscrapers, billboards to high art, truly a total work of art, though not a homogenous or harmonious one.
The Ninth Edition suggests that to live life as a total work of art is to embrace the variety, the clash of cultures, and the juxtaposition of eras that is the contemporary age. And soon the next edition will be written and today will be a nostalgic reminiscence of the past.
I must confess I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I am not overly fond of rich chocolatey cakes, give me a soufflé any day. After all, not all great literature needs to be complex or heavy in flavour. The hallmark of great literature is that it is forged using only the best ingredients. The words have to be organic, carefully selected and locally sourced. Great literature takes these ingredients and blends them to perfection. And nothing is trickier than making the perfect soufflé, like comedy, one false step and the whole thing collapses on itself. Continue reading