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BECOMING JANE

The Film's Visual Style
When it came to shooting BECOMING JANE, Julian Jarrold turned to a cinematographer with whom he had previously collaborated on the BBC mini-series CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and the feature film, KINKY BOOTS: Eigil Bryld. Jarrold notes that he chose Bryld because the two already have a kind of creative short-hand born from a familiarity with each other's tastes and techniques. "It helps a lot knowing each other's way of working,” adds Bryld. "We both like to make decisions as late as possible in the process. When working with Julian it is always possible to refine an idea, to make use of small coincidences and natural light or to grab a certain look or expression from an actor sometimes without them knowing it.”

Bryld was also excited by the idea of taking on this fictional look at the real Jane Austen. "I thought the script was full of passion and complex characters,” he says. "Jane, with her notions of free love and independence, was in her day a very modern person. So I was keen to bring to the movie a sense of both tradition and modernity, something emerging and slightly out of control. The era itself is also particularly visually pleasing. I love the richness, curves and lines of the fashion. It is very much the lighting I like best, with an almost seamless transition from light to darkness.”

Key to Bryld's visual concept was the immediately establish the feeling of clashing social classes. "We wanted to show early on that Lady Gresham is all about scale and space, so we shot and lit her in a way so she seems a little secluded and composed. Then, with Jane we wanted to have a sense of youth and energy. Anne Hathaway is naturally a very energetic and emotional personality and we designed most of the scenes with her in a way so that she wouldn't feel constrained by the camera and forced to hit marks,” he expalins. "The color scheme is also contrasting. I used some cyan (green-blue) for Lady Gresham to create a sense of slight claustrophobia, almost like being in a fish tank, while I used more gentle colors for the Austens.”

The cinematographer also wanted to bring a sense of realism not often found in more lacy period romances. "We really tried to respect and understand what everyday life would have been like,” says Bryld. "In Jane Austen's day dinners and dinner parties were usually set in the afternoon because everybody went to bed very early. They did not have electric lights so people would usually read outdoors or when indoors they would sit close to a window or use candles at night. So we would block and light the scenes accordingly. This gives the images a slightly more painterly look. There are many candle lit scenes in the movie and I was determined to try and make it look as natural as possible.”

For Bryld the most elaborate sequence to shoot was the ball at Lady Gresham's residence. "It had to have a magical feel to it, to be romantic, mysterious and sexy,” he says. "We wanted to be able to look through 360 degrees in the ballroom so I had to light it in a way that would work for all angles and have the right mood and atmosphere. When Jane first arrives, we wanted the audience to experience her perception of the scene. The logistics were very complicated. There were lots of extras, there was the elaborate dance choreography and the camera moves in every direction.”

Julian Jarrold notes that, for all its difficulties, the scene is central to the film's drama. "When Jane dances with Wisley it is formal and oppressive, but when Tom appears the electricity crackles between them,” he comments.

Throughout, the romantic frisson of the story and the many sides of the period are subtly emphasized by the collaborative work of Jarrold and Bryld. "The challenge was to give the film a strong sense of naturalism and at the same time give it a definite beauty,” sums up Bryld. "It is not a fairytale e

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