Saturday 27 May 2023

Brussels Brontë Group and Matrimony Days

The Heritage Days have a firm reputation in Brussels, but recently there has been an addition to the program which focuses specifically on the women-centered heritage and history of our city. Since 2019, the non-profit organization L’architecture qui dégenre, has started organizing the Journées du Matrimoine (Matrimony Days), with ‘Matrimony’ signifying a ‘tangible or intangible good of artistic or historical importance inherited from women.’ 

Especially for the Matrimony Days, we have developed a guided walk in the city center that focuses on the feminist elements in the work of the Brontë sisters. 

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Frances O’Connor’s ‘Emily’ and the French connection

Frances O’Connor’s film Emily is full of surprises. This is perhaps only to be expected in a movie that the writer-director herself describes as a story inspired by the Brontës’ lives, not factually based on them – a fictional story inspired by real-life people. 

For me, one of the film’s more agreeable surprises is how much French there is in it. Not only are we startled to find Patrick’s curate William Weightman, with some difficulty, unlacing Emily Brontë’s corset in a scene of passion as they embark on a love affair; we are also taken aback to find him tutoring her in French in a deserted Haworth schoolroom. 

Saturday 13 May 2023

Review: Frances O’Connor's 'Emily'

The new film Emily is often described as “a part-fictional” portrait of Emily Brontë. When I saw it recently, I found it only partly satisfying. 

The film is directed by Frances O’Connor who, more than twenty years ago, starred as Fanny Price in a creative Mansfield Park adaptation, which departed from the novel in many ways and transformed the least popular Jane Austen heroine into a more spirited and almost feisty character while including feminist and post-colonial themes as well. 

Frances O'Connor and Emma Mackey

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Brontë Sisters Square in Koekelberg comes a step nearer!

Three years ago we reported a proposal for a square in Koekelberg to be named after the Brontë sisters. It’s an initiative of Koekelberg councillor Robert Delathouwer, a member of the social-democratic political party Vooruit, as part of the Brussels authorities’ move to have more streets named after women (the ‘feminisation’ of street names). 

The Brontë square has now moved a step nearer. On 17 April 2023 the commune’s council approved the initiative in principle, as well as proposals for three other streets in the commune to be named after women. What is proposed is for part of the Dapperenstraat/Rue des Braves (numbers 1 to 20) to be renamed Gezusters Brontëplein/Place des Soeurs Brontë.