Stone and Wood

Bill asked “Does stone and wood also play a metaphorical role in “The Golden Age”? And given all the wood in the ships, is there a metaphor of the ships being organic or transient as well? Does stone play a role? Or has the approach to set design changed for “The Golden Age”?”

Bill, every film suggests it’s own metaphor. In Elizabeth I stood in a 12th Century Cathedral in wonder at the number of people over the centuries that stood in the same place admiring or worshipping in that great stone structure. I could feelk their vibrations. Then the idea of using stone architecture in the high ‘from the ceiling shits emerged. I used stone as a suggestion of the Destiny of the human being, every now and again showing even Elizabeth looking fairly diminutive in context of the stone architecture.
In Bandit Queen I had used the river as the passing through life. Each time the protaganist crossed a certain path in her life, she crossed a river, and the boatman was us. Souls bonded to row in the river of life, but ultimately looking to be free from the cage of the Body.
In Golden Age ? It’s a far more complex equation. I have no used stone as a metaphor of Destiny, nor wood as a metaphor of our organic nature. It deals at it’s deepest subtextual level with idea sof Divinity. Can Divinity be relative, or must it be Absolute ? How Mortal can you remain if you attempt to aspire to be Divine.
So I did not create huge limitations on my Production Designer on this film (The brilliant Guy Dias who just did Superman 3) as I did in the previous one. The ideas of exploration of the conflict between Elizabeth’s Mortal and her Divine being are more explored in her performance than in the design this time around.

4 thoughts on “Stone and Wood

  1. Dear Shekhar,
    Thank you for your response. When you do weave subtext into the set design, it is very powerful. The use of the river in the Bandit Queen is compelling and poetical. It seems “The Golden Age” will be an acting marathon and I can’t wait to see it!
    Nevertheless, there was one scene Justin described concerning “The Allegory of the Orrery” which seems to me to have inserted the theme of Mortality and Devinity:
    “The idea that the universe is bound together by harmony or concord is fundamental in Elizabethan cosmology. The music of the spheres orders the heavens, and music alike orders and tempers human passions and social forces.” (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol 1., p.1049)
    I thought the Orrery, also, was an interesting juxtaposition to the sensuality of the “earthly” banquet, the food, the animals: the sensual world, if you like, which Elizabeth could only look upon but not physically engage herself as she was deprived of the deep privacy of a sensual life (unlike Bess Throckmorton). The realm of the senses juxtaposed to the realm of planets.
    Split as Elizabeth I was – to be an immortal mortal among mortals – makes me wonder if she occasionally forgot where she was: living, it seems, in the silence of the night sky, the Orrery. She wasn’t always “a creature of the world,” or, she wasn’t a creature in a body. Unlike Walsingham – Fannie Ardent asks Geoffrey Rush in “Elizabeth”, “Sir Francis, you are a creature of the world, like me?” – Elizabeth had a rift in her human soul (or heart) which was not constructed to belong entirely to life, being one of the “princes”.

  2. Dear Mr. Kapur,
    I realize this is off-topic horrifically, but I couldnt find anyone else to ask, so I was wondering if you could take some time out to help me.
    As a huge fan of The Foundation series, Ive been tracking its supposed film production since rumors in early 04. Sadly, I havent heard anything for quite a while. The reason I come to you is that I hear you are set to direct it. Is it still planned to happen, and is any progress being made?

  3. Zach, sadly while I developed Foundation for many years at Fox, the studio decided to move on> I am not sure who will direct the film now, or indeed if anyone is attached. I had what I thought was a wonderful and very spiritual take on the film, but I think that the Studio was looking for soemthing different. But I am sure a lot of what I developed will stay in the film. I hope so in any case. Shekhar

  4. Dear Shekhar,in your film BANDIT QUEEN, The scene when PUTTILAL asks for PHOOLAN’S hand in marriage,a bicycle is shown; the scene where THAKUR’S son tries to molest her, riding on a bicycle; KAILASH teasing her while travelling to his village, riding on a bicycle; introductory scene of SRIRAM and LALARAM where a cycle is displayed near the cell; when she is gangraped in BEHMAI, again we see a cycle in that room. So what exactly does the cycle suggest? is it a metaphor for sexual act or for lust? plz reply.

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