Monday, June 29, 2009

The One Stop Shop for Your Next Period Piece

You know how period films are all kind of the same? Like you can expect that there will be adorned bosoms, tea cups, English accents even if it's set in France, and some sordid interclass sexual relations between two white people that the rest of the upper crusties turn their Anglo-noses up at until it's discovered that the poorer party is really a prince or inheritor of his estranged father's tea biscuit fortune? Thus true love is allowed to thrive while keeping all of the same crappy social conditions that prevented it in the first place. (The same bizarro logic exists in rom-coms too: be an unhappy single woman and kvetch to everyone about your destitute, lonesome life and you'll get swept off your feet by a handsome man who loves slobbery dogs and will unrealistically find your moodiness and bitter quips about the terribleness of the male species completely charming.)

Anyway, I find the trailer for Cheri hilarious, because it really is a cliche of itself. I mean, sub the actors out and the formula could be used for ANY period piece trailer. Start with ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE, CUE VIOLINS!, INTRODUCE KEY FORBIDDEN LOVE CHARACTERS, CUE VIOLINS!, CUT TO TEA TIME WHERE NOTHING INTERESTING IS BEING SAID, CUE VIOLINS!, SHOW POST-COITAL LOVAHS, CUE VIOLINS!, CUT TO HEARTY ENGLISH LAUGHTER, CUE VIOLINS!, MORE HEARTY ENGLISH LAUGHTER, CUE VIOLINS! And scene.


WendyB said...

I saw it the other day. It's pretty much like the trailer.

NA said...

Extra credit: Giant hats; lawn lounging with parasols; a motorcar or a carriage speeding down a tree-lined avenue. This trailer had two.

Anyway! Your list is perfect.

Odoacer said...

I don't know how much of this is true, but I read somewhere that most romantic comedies made today are either period pieces or set during weddings, because there were a lot more (and still are at weddings) social taboos back then, thus giving the protagonists something to triumph over.

If the king married a commoner in the old days, he'd have to abdicate his throne. Now if Prince Charles openly fantasizes about being his lover's tampon, most people don't bat an eye.