Saturday, January 4, 2020

Death and Nightingales - an unapologetic, authentic BBC masterpiece

Happy New Year, commies!

If you are tired of artificial "woke" or "empowering" costume dramas that aim to appease the left wing viewers and leave them with a feeling of "triumph", consider this BBC miniseries.

The BBC adaptation of Eugene McCabe's literary slow-burning thriller Death and Nightingales is extremely satisfying and faithful to the original. I actually read the novel first, so it was very gratifying to see all the key scenes and quotes included into the script. No unnecessary liberties, no frivolities, no attempt to put a "woke" spin on the story or infuse it with "girl power" to make it more palatable to modern audiences. I don't see Hollywood producing this film. The subject matter is probably too regional and not universal enough. There is not much material to entertain global audiences. Eugene McCabe is a contemporary author who dies a stellar job recreating the Ireland of the 1880s. It definitely helps to possess some rudimentary knowledge on the political and economic climate of the era. Even if you are totally new to the painful Anglo-Irish, Catholic-Protestant conflict, it will not take you long to catch on. 

The narrative is not always linear, so the director had to rely on flashbacks, which were done seamlessly and never took the viewer out of the moment. The novel spans the events of one day in the life of a young woman whose fragile world is about to collapse. 23-year old Beth Winters is not by any means "feisty" or "defiant". She does attempt to defy her guardian as a contemporary woman would - instead, her frustration takes a homicidal twist. Under certain circumstances, it is easier to murder your oppressor, or get someone else to do it, than attempt to defy him in a battle of wills. 

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