The two adaptations after the controversial novel “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory present a historical fictional story of the Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary. This is a ravishing, emotionally intense story of love, loyalty and betrayal in the chase for power and social position, portraying the human desires and flaws in a beautifully described historical background at the English court. The private life of the historical figures from the XVIth century and the intrigues hidden behind the official documents is quite an ambiguous, curiously challenging segment of time, from the historical point of view. The book, and the two film adaptations after – “The Other Boleyn Girl” explore the uncertain times in the life of Henry the VIIIth, before deciding to divorce Katherine of Aragorn, remarry Anne Boleyn and start the Church of England.
The first adaptation is a television film, released by BBC in 2003, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. It is remarkable for its innovative style, close to experimental, very unusual for the historical fictional drama genre. The film was shot with a digital camera, but what is most striking is the modern use of camerawork – handhelds, the shaky movements at the beginning, the two sisters confessions looking straight into the camera, like in an interview – give a documentary style to the appearance of the movie. While most films of the same genre are trying to recreate the atmosphere of the time, by using the classical parameters, this film is trying to achieve exactly the opposite. This cinéma vérité style has the subtle purpose of bringing the viewer closer to the story and effectively involved throughout the narrative. In the same time the film focuses on the developmen...
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...he purpose anyway. However, the BBC version gives a more realistic sense of the characters and relationships between them, mainly because is not aiming to overwhelm the viewer with the context, as the Hollywood version does, and the documentary-style and the actors give more credibility in recreating the historical figures.
The Hollywood adaptation from 2008 offers a more complex view over the life in the political and historical context presented. “ridiculous, but imagined with humour and gusto: a very diverting gallop trough the heritage landscape” (Peter Bradshaw – “The Guardian”)
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