In Austen L and Janeites, Diane Reynolds brought forward a link to a short movie (15 minutes)--The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore—which has been nominated for a 2012 Oscar, and she enticed us with “It's a very dear movie that book lovers will most likely appreciate."
I watched it and loved it, and I’ve decided to do my bit to help spread the word about it!
Like a great novel, this excellent film can just be enjoyed uncritically simply as a lovely experience (in particular, what a fantastic score!) or it can be mulled over for its deeper meanings. In that regard, I read a few reviews of the film which pointed out the film’s broad wink at The Wizard of Oz, among other obvious allusions.
Being an Austen obsessive, it’s perhaps not surprising that I was strongly reminded at one point of one particular Jane Austen novel. I.e., watching the hero hop the gate and watching the books fly around like little birds, I immediately made an association to the Sotherton ha-ha episode in Mansfield Park, with Maria Bertram channeling Laurence Sterne’s 1762 fictionalized travel memoir, A Sentimental Journey, by quoting his starling trying to get out of its cage.
Morris Lessmore immediately gave me a fresh perspective on Maria's situation in Mansfield Park, making me realize that, yes, hopping a locked gate can be transgression....but it can also be liberation. It all depends on your point of view.....or maybe sometimes they're two inseparable sides of the same coin?
In my post immediately following this, I will expand on my above referenced interpretation of Jane Austen’s allusion to Sterne, but I finish here by recommending that you, too, invest 15 minutes, and watch this wonderfully suggestive cinematic love letter to imagination and literature and see if it rekindles any of your favorite stories in your imagination.
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P.S.: I could not help also being reminded of one of the most romantic lines in all of Jane Austen's novels, when Knightley explains things to Emma right after she accepts his proposal of marriage:
"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."
Julienne Gehrer on “Dining with Jane Austen”
7 hours ago