Friday, September 6, 2013

#3 Part Deux: Mount Pleasant Branch - "Information Books"

I arranged to have yet another adaptation of Jane Eyre sent to the Mount Pleasant Branch at Kingsway and Main as a reason for visiting there one very sunny afternoon. This turned out to be an interesting tactic, as dvds placed on hold are not put out on the hold shelves at Mount Pleasant Branch, but rather are kept behind the circulation desk. It took me an inordinately long time staring at the holds shelf trying to find the item supposedly there for me before I spotted the very clearly placed sign telling me about the dvd holds. The lady at the desk told me that so many dvds were stolen out of cases at that particular branch that they started placing at least the on hold dvds behind the desk so they would be in the case when the patron came to pick up their hold.

Despite what that little story may bring up in your imagination, this is actually a relatively snazzy library branch, though not much to my own taste personally. It is located in a well-appointed community center and is a pretty good size including some well-lit seating by a corner full of windows at the back. A wall literally divides the room down the center with mostly children’s and YA materials on one side and adult and non-fiction stuff on the other side. Amusingly the sign over the non-fiction books on the “adult” side of the library labeled them as “Information Books.” There is also a zine section in this library by the adult graphic novels, which is not something I've spotted anywhere else but at the Central Branch before. Meanwhile, the children’s side also has ESL materials and some tables for working or reading at, which made for an interesting mix of patrons in that area, children, young adults, and several mostly elderly adults.

I found signs listing a Teen Manga and a DIY Button Making event for teens which sounded neat. But further observation made me realize these were not events local to that library, but rather events occurring generally across the library system or at the Central Branch downtown. I wonder how many events actually occur within the small branch libraries embedded within local communities of VPL versus at the large central branch downtown which has the space and resources for events. It seems like a kind of unfortunate tension between where the people are and where the resources and space are.

The version of Jane Eyre I snagged this time was the 1996 2-hour movie with Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. For those who might be interested, a young Anna Paquin plays the childhood Jane Eyre in the early scenes, which sadly I did not really like. I found those scenes lacked subtlety and in that way assumed the audience wasn't intelligent enough to pick up on the themes and emotional motifs on their own without having them bashed into their faces in the most literal of ways. This tendency crops up again periodically throughout the movie.

 I cannot help but find Gainsbourg an appealing Jane Eyre even though she definitely plays up the isolated, quiet queerness of the character. Little Adele is actually fairly appealing in this version which most certainly is not always the case. But the major problem is William Hurt as Mr. Rochester who brings little or no drama to what is supposed to be an intense role (and really the story makes no sense if there is no great tension in his character). Although, unlike some of the earlier versions of Jane Eyre, there is a musical score, I find it is rather ridiculous at times. The music when Rochester first appears is utterly inappropriate to the moment, though really that whole scene is played with the most amount of practicality and least actual character and drive or any of the Jane Eyre adaptations I have ever seen. At least Jane's sketches are actually fairly nice, because often they are really just terrible and over dramatic and silly.


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