Friday, 6 May 2016

Film: Carol, Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax

Cate Blanchett as Carol, Carol
(Accessed from

I thoroughly enjoyed Carol for the first time at last year's Leeds Film Festival (before its general release).

Before the film, a member of staff from Square Chapel, gave an update about the Cornerstone and its development including its new cinema space.  These are exciting times for Square Chapel Centre for the Arts along with the restoration of the adjacent Piece Hall.

Carol, a critically acclaimed film, opened in 2015 at the Cannes Film Festival, starts Cate Blanchett (as Carol) and Rooney Mara (as Therese).  Carol is based on Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, a ground breaking romance, and adapted for a screen play by Phyllis Nagy.

Carol is about a forbidden love affair between Therese, a young ambitious photographer, and Carol, an older woman who is going through a complicated divorce.  Set in the early 1950s and at a time where society and civil attitudes towards many things were so different than to today.  For example morality clauses could be served as grounds against defendants over custody of children in legal cases as shown in the film.  Hence the relationship between Therese and Carol has it challenges, complications and consequences.

One has to admire the 1950s art deco buildings and its cars then.  The highlight is Edward Lachman's effective cinematography.  There is considerable usage of 16 mm film and still photography in the film.  These attributes capture the slow build up and intrigue of the attraction between the two women.  Noteworthy are the close up shots, silent pauses, pictorial narratives and the prolonged glances inviting viewers to observe, speculate and conclude.

It reminds one of Brief Encounter which has a similar plot.  That film's structure is used with Carol with the same scene at beginning and at the end - though the leading characters don't narrate their stories and the slight difference is the vulnerability switched between Blanchett and Mara.

An excellent film with great direction by Todd Haynes and must say again - great cinematography!

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