In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together.
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British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's ... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
In the novel Fiamma is Italian, not Spanish. And is a princess. See more »
The pastry Miss G serves to Fiamma is not the same as the ones she bought at the bakery. See more »
Miss G, I wanted to thank you for lending me the book.
Did you read it?
Did you get caught?
No. And anyway, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. I wasn't corrupted.
Good for you. Let them put that in their pipes.
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This is an amazingly brilliant film directed by the young Jordan Scott, who is female despite being called Jordan. She is the daughter (I almost said the son) of Ridley Scott and niece of Tony Scott, and after seeing this film I believe she has more artistic talent than both of them put together. It is simply incredible what she achieves in her portrait of an adult driven to madness by desire for a beautiful young creature, and her film really rivals Luchino Visconti's DEATH IN VENICE (1971) in my opinion, although in this film both the desired and the desirer are female, whereas in Visconti's film based on the Thomas Mann novella DER TOD IN VENEDIG, they were both male. (I once had to read the Mann novella in German and nearly fainted when I found a single sentence which was one and a half pages long with the main verb at the end! But that was Mann for you! Delayed gratification!) This film is set in the surreal setting of a remote girl's boarding school on 'Stanley Island' (wherever that is, as we are not told) in the year 1934. The school as seen in the film, a kind of Victorian Gothic pedagogical fantasy, apparently really exists as a structure somewhere in Ireland. But the geographical location is not really important, all that is needed for the story is the visual impression, the sea adjoining, the wild surrounding hills, and the isolation. This we certainly get, and the outside world barely exists in this hot house of passionate longings, schoolgirl intrigues, extreme homesickness verging on hysteria, and the coursing hormones of teenage girls who never get to see a boy. They are all in love with their mysterious and alluring mistress, 'Miss G.', played by the spectacularly weird and wonderful Eva Green (pronounced 'grain' because her father is Swedish and that is what they do there in Sweden during the long winter nights, they pronounce Green as 'grain'). Miss G. dresses exquisitely and has the finest imaginable artistic colour sense and personal style of dress and manner. The costumes in this film are a total knockout, designed by the super-talented Alison Byrne. A great deal of talent was also lavished on the sets and art direction. This is a real treat to the eye. As a production it is stunning in every respect. The fiery personality of Juno Temple (Juno was the Latin name for the queen of the gods, gedditt?, so of course she has to have a Temple) burns holes in the celluloid with her glowering stares of love, resentment, passion, jealousy, hatred, devotion, all those things mixed up which teenaged girls tend to have in such an unsorted state in their feverish psyches. She is a perfect screen match for the hyper-intense Eva Green. Juno is in love with Miss G. but Miss G. has no eyes for her anymore since the arrival of the super-cool, super-calm, super-beautiful Spanish dream dish, played by Spanish actress Maria Valverde, a silent brooding siren who drives Miss G. insane (literally, not just metaphorically). Despite the erotically charged atmosphere of this film, the director is too subtle to allow a single sexual scene. The most we see is Miss G. kissing Maria's neck, but that is enough to get Juno Temple so hysterical with jealousy that she precipitates a Twilight of the Goddesses, herself included. This is steamy stuff, very steamy stuff indeed, and all done without anybody touching anybody. Miss G. presides over a special collection of nymphets who form the school diving team. The team has never competed and the divers are pretty hopeless, but that all changes when the Spanish girl Fiamma turns up. She is an impeccably-dressed aristocrat of considerable sophistication, and all the girls hate her on sight because she is more beautiful and self-possessed than they are. Later, some of them soften. But Juno's main concern is that Fiamma has stolen Miss G.'s affections from her, and that is not to be tolerated. Fiamma suffers from serious asthma and has an inhaler, and, well, you can imagine the ensuing events. Miss G's steady personality disintegration, under the influence of her stifled lesbian passions, and her descent into a kind of sleep-walking insanity over her obsession with Fiamma, are so brilliantly and horrifyingly portrayed by Eva Green that we wonder if she had to go to a sanitarium for some months to recover after making this intense film. As for Juno Temple, I do hope she can now sit up and speak again. It is all very harrowing, deeply disturbing, and so seething with suppressed but never overtly articulated sexuality that they must still be trying to cool down the camera in an ice bucket. As they say in the horrible tabloid newspapers: 'Corrrrr, what a scorcher!'
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