Friday 13 May 2011

Glamour under the Big Top…


Water for Elephants, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson

screened last night as a charity fundraiser at the Dendy. The movie is visually beautiful, thankful that my friend showed me how netflix is limited in other countries

set in 1931 with circus glamorous scenes, but the treatment of circus animals is at times heart-breaking.

Actress, Reese Witherspoon is featured on the cover of the May issue of American Vogue

with a circus theme inspired by the movie.

“There’s that determination in her,” says her director, Francis Lawrence, “but there’s also a sense of vulnerability.” Sophie Theallet red silk dress with grosgrain ties.

Reese plays the role of Marlena, the beautiful, star circus performer

who wears dresses from Dior, Sophie Theallet, Narciso Rodriguez and Dolce & Gabban

in this magical circus themed shoot. Makes me want to run away and join the circus!

Reese Witherspoon, in Dolce & Gabbana embellished top and shorts.

Witherspoon, with her Water for Elephants costar Tai. “I enjoy the thrill of doing something dangerous.” Dior sequined, embroidered tulle dress. Lorraine Schwartz pavé-diamond earrings.

PLAY TIME “I don’t wake up to make movies,” she says. “I wake up to have a wonderful family and to cultivate the best life for all of us.” Narciso Rodriguez silk charmeuse dress. Fred Leighton bracelets.

There’s something endearingly about a love story involving a beautiful bareback show rider on a white horse and a kid who runs off to join the circus. The drama is centred around the circus owner, August, who is married to the beautiful bareback rider, Marlena and keeps her and everyone else in his iron grip, often displaying outbursts of violent anger. He is a brutal man who abuses the animals.

The story, based on the best-seller by Sara Gruen, is told as a flashback by an old man named Jacob, who lost his parents in 1931, and consequently dropped out of Cornell University’s veterinary school. He hit the road and jumps onto a passing train, a circus train as fate would have it. He enters a world of freaks, swindlers and misfits in a second-rate circus struggling to survive. August is prepared to throw him off the train until he learns that Jacob is a veterinarian. When the white show horse is heartbreakingly put down, August buys Marlena an elephant, Rosie who becomes the star attraction and saves the The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth from financial ruin.

Below the charismatic but dangerous circus boss August (Christoph Waltz, left) hosts an intimate gathering attended by his wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) and newcomer Jacob (Robert Pattinson).

Sara Gruen has said that the backbone of her story parallels the biblical story of Jacob in the Book of Genesis. The book contains multiple references to Ringling Brothers as the premier circus of the time. Also, photos of actual circuses and circus performers of the time are included throughout the book.

The title is drawn from a scene at the beginning of the novel, where Jacob mocks another resident at the nursing home who claims to have worked in the circus and carried water for the elephants.

Sara Gruen is a Canadian-born dual citizen (Canadian and American) author. Her books deal greatly with animals and she is a supporter of numerous charitable organizations that support animals and wildlife. Gruen moved to the United States in 1999 in order to take a technical writing job. When she was laid off two years later, she decided to try writing fiction. Gruen is an animal lover; both her first novel, Riding Lessons, and her second novel, Flying Changes, involve horses. Gruen’s third book, the 1930s circus drama Water for Elephants, was initially turned down by her publisher at the time, Avon Books, forcing Gruen to find another publisher. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller and is now available in 44 languages.

{Images 1-4. photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue May;  5-9. movie stills by David James}


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