Voices and Verses in Film

  (Photos courtesy of Claire)

In the film "Sense and Sensibility", directed by Ang Lee, and adapted for the screen by Emma Thompson, Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) reads to Marianne (Kate Winslet), a portion of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. Rickman recites from Book V, Canto II Verse 39.

Excerpt from:
The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser

Nor is the earth the lesser, or loseth ought,
For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto another brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.

Here is a link to the full texts including Book V of The Faerie Queene, from "The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Edmund Spenser".

In the film "Truly, Madly, Deeply", written and directed by Anthony Minghella, and starring Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson, Jamie, the dead lover of Nina, recites a verse from Pablo Neruda's poem, "The Dead Woman", in Spanish. Here is the full text of the poem. Rickman recites the verse which begins "perdóname . . . "

From "The Captain's Verses".

La Muerta (The Dead Woman)
Pablo Neruda

La MuertaDead Woman
Si de pronto no existes,If suddenly you do not exist,
si de pronto no vives,if suddenly you no longer live,
yo seguiré viviendo.I shall live on.
No me atrevo,I do not dare,
no me atrevo a escribirlo,I do not dare to write it,
si te mueres.if you die.
Yo seguiré viviendo.I shall live on.
Porque donde no tiene voz un hombreFor where a man has no voice,
allí, mi voz.there, my voice.
Donde los negros sean apaleados, Where blacks are beaten,
yo no puedo estar muerto.I cannot be dead.
Cuando entren en la cárcel mis hermanos When my brothers go to prison
entraré yo con ellos.I shall go with them.
Cuando la victoria,When victory,
no mi victoria,not my victory,
sino la gran victoriabut the great victory
aunque esté mudo debo hablar:even ithough I am mute I must speak;
yo la veré llegar aunque esté ciego.I shall see it come even though I am blind.
No, perdóname.No, forgive me.
Si tú no vives,If you no longer live,
si tú, querida, amor mío,if you, beloved, my love,
si túif you
te has muerto,have died,
todas las hojas caerán en mi pecho, all the leaves will fall in my breast,
lloverá sobre mi alma noche y día, it will rain on my soul night and day,
la nieve quemará mi corazón, the snow will burn my heart,
andaré con frío y fuego y muerte y nieve,I shall walk with frost and fire and death and snow,
mis pies querrán marchar hacia donde tú duermes,my feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping,
seguiré vivo,I shall stay alive,
porque tú me quisiste sobre todas las cosasbecause above all things you wanted me
y, amor, porque tú sabes que soy no sólo un hombre and, my love, because you know that I am not only a man
sino todos los hombres.but all mankind.

Part of another of Pablo Neruda's poems was quoted in the film "Patch Adams"--Sonnet 17 of Neruda's "100 Love Sonnets"
(English translation by Stephen Tapscott). Here is the full text of the sonnet.

Sonnet 17
Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where Idoes not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Paul Éluard
Capitale de la douleur

The camera "reads" this poem in the film "Alphaville", directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Nudité de la vérité
      «Je le sais bien»

Le désespoir n'a pas d'ailes,
L'amour non plus,
Pas de visage,
Ne parlent pas,
Je ne bouge pas,
Je ne les regarde pas,

Je ne leur parle pas
Mais je suis bien aussi vivant que mon amour
[et que mon désespoir.]

Naked Truth
      «I know it well»

Despair has no wings
nor does love
no faces;
they don't speak
I do not move
I don't look at them

I don't speak to them
but I am as alive as my love and despair.


If you enjoy great voices and great verses, do you know about the CD recording of When Love Speaks, an audio Sonnets of Shakespeare?
Alan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, Ralph Fiennes and other talents read or perform sonnets of their choice.

Also, enjoy the poetry and music found on the movie soundtrack to the film "Il Postino".

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