Sunday, February 03, 2008


Gay men have always had their icons. Judy. Barbra. Madonna. Kylie. The list goes on. No doubt from the days of the first Eve, men of that certain nature have seeked role models from the ranks of strong, opinionated ladies who weren't at all afraid to speak their mind, kick arse and take names.

And show their prideful colours looking absofuckinlutely fabulous as well.

Icons. I've always had one of my own ever since I stumbled into that last shelf in my school library. Back in my old boys' school, only a few desperate souls would bother trekking up all the way to the dusty old library on the top floor - and in the sweltering heat of the afternoon sun, even the handful there including the trusty librarian could be counted on to be snoozing lightly away with their heads pillowed on a cushy tome as the creaky ceiling fans spun endlessly in mesmerizing motion.

But there I was wide awake right in the last row by the window shutters with my head buried in the stories of a queen named Elizabeth. The pictures were faded in the pre-colonial textbook but the glories of her reign were clear enough, as was the flash of her auburn hair.

Talking about me?

Witty, whimsical redheaded virgin babe who lopped off heads on her way to the top while exchanging numbers with foreign princes and halting Spanish Armadas / religious inquisitions almost by sheer strength of will ( and lotsa sheer luck! )?

Of course if I'd been on the throne, I'd have positively revelled in the political backstabbing, delicious spy intrigues - and yes, I'd have taken to bed a dozen hunky ambassadors and archdukes as well.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to see her brought to life on the screens a few years back in Elizabeth - and now the sequel the Golden Age. Though I was quite amused at the fact that few of my compatriots even bothered catching the movie. Guess history was one subject they never cared for.

Missing out on the earlier portion and stepping into the middle of Elizabeth's story, most of my friends looked utterly perplexed - probably thinking I'd purposely tricked them into a bitter history lesson. But it's easy enough to get irresistibly swept into Shekhar Kapur's rich, lush interpretation of Queen Elizabeth's eventful life.

No doubt the writers and producers have played a little fast and loose with historical fact but overall I don't think they've forgotten the essence of this great queen. Since the glories of the Good Queen Bess managed to win over even the unschooled skeptics such as Zany Zinedine and Strapping Shane.

Though Jaunty Jared ( I suspect a reincarnation of the infamous Mary Queen of Scots herself ) remains unbowed. And certainly uncharmed. Like a number of critical historians, he finds her indecisive, whiny and whimsical. I don't blame him - especially since in the later portions of the fictionalized story, Elizabeth slips into weepy, wimpy love-lorn Jean Plaidy heroine mode swooning desperately over the charms of dashing swashbuckler Raleigh. Certainly reason enough to sneer.

Good God. Did I actually whine that much over a foolish man?

But then this is an interpretation of the true story which the lead actress, Cate Blanchett had this to say...
It’s terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it’s invention. Hopefully though an historical film will inspire people to go and read about the history. But in the end it is a work of history and selection.

But I doubt any of us were unmoved by her amazing gowns :) Far from historically accurate but forgivable since it's so sinfully rich that you can't help but worship Cate Blanchett in those vivid costumes.

ADDENDUM : With the terrifying images of red crosses flashing across the screen, no doubt more than a few have commented on the obvious anti-Catholicism vein unsubtly hidden throughout the story. I was obviously stunned myself but thinking back to that period of time, the Protestants certainly had reason enough to worry back then with the Spanish Inquisition alive and burning. Reason enough to villify the overzealous Papists.

Teaching us a lesson about going overboard with religious zealotry, doesn't it?


joshua said...

I so totally LOVE LOVE LOVE the first Elizabeth movie... And I was like in primary school when it was released... or sometime not so BIG yet.

And oh my, Cate is dazzling... as always!

mstpbound said...

i have always admired elizabeth, but you know, i could never put myself in her shoes. there's a lot of things i can do--but when it comes down to it, i'm just not that brave of a person :/ i totally would have chickened and married philip -_-'''

__S.B__ said...

just came accross your blog

pretty good

[danial][ma] said...

hej! paul...gong xi fa cai and may you have a prosperous new year with a lot of joy and happiness, great wealth and health!

Zinedine said...

unschooled skeptics!?

i have a hurricane in me that will strip you bare!

jamie da vinci! said...

i felt the first movie was better than this one, though the cinematography of this movie is much better. and oh the costumes, beautiful! having our own history with the spanish made me almost wish we too had an "elizabeth", someone who could have at least made learning history a bit more interesting and colorful.

Trey Cruz said...

I LOVE THE MOVIE.... I was so fasinated with her life in history class and the movie just added so more much details that I lacked in my head.

I'm doing a photoshoot portraying the great Queen in early summer. Can't wait!

-Trey Cruz

Raising Mercury said...

i loved elizabeth =) cate is amazing! i have yet to watch the golden age though, havent been able to find people interested enough to watch the movie with me, perhaps i might go alone =) hugs!

savante said...

So did I, joshua! But amazingly most of you guys haven't seen it yet!

Wouldn't put myself in her shoes either, mstpbound. Sure I'd had no qualms on chopping heads but it couldn't have been easy.

Thanks, sb!

A happy CNY to you too, danial!

Sure, you'd know the hurricane bit, zinedine :p

The first movie was better but I think the costumes in the second... was simply breathtaking, jamie.

Whoa. Photoshoot with the Queen? I gotta see this, trey!

She was wonderful, mercury. Go alone, it's worth it!