Last week, on 25th and 26th October, I gave my first ever talk on the Brontës in my home town of Tiel, in the Netherlands.
The latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre was going to be released in our local film theatre, the Agnietenhof. I thought this could be a wonderful opportunity to tell the people of Tiel about a subject I not only hold very dear to my heart, but up till this point, had only shared with fellow enthusiasts either in England or Brussels. I was curious to know if the name Brontë would attract people to come to this specially organized introduction to this film.
Both evenings, there were around 35 people present to listen to Charlotte's and the Brontës' story.
I had prepared for several weeks to produce a concise, informative and comprehensive story that would hopefully captivate and interest the ‘Brontë-novice’ audience. I wanted to give them an inside view of the creator of this undying love story, Charlotte Brontë, concluding with showing the many interpretations and adaptations of Jane Eyre. My aim was to give them an understanding of Jane Eyre’s background story and a greater enjoyment of the film.
The half-hour introduction was accompanied by a colourful Powerpoint presentation, with many images and clips from the Brontës’ life and Jane Eyre adaptations. It was quite powerful to see familiar images and clips on a big cinema screen and with that wonderful surround sound. I had chosen a few clips from 'The Brontës of Haworth', that brilliant series from the '70's; and at the end I compared three versions of the same scene, where Jane and Rochester first meet (and his horse falls), from 1944, 1983 and 2006.
All in all: two very successful evenings. Comments from the public were very positive and some approached me enthusiastically; the talk had actually made an impression. I now hope they have taken on my suggestion of getting to know the real story of Jane Eyre by reading the book, or learning more about the life of the Brontës.
The people of the theatre too have been very friendly in giving me this opportunity and the technicians were very helpful.
If your local film house or cinema is showing the new Jane Eyre very soon, perhaps this might be your chance to let your fellow town’s people know of the Brontës.