Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy Belated Guy Fawkes Day!

"Remember, remember the 5th of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason that the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

Yesterday was Guy Fawkes Day, which celebrates (or demonizes, depending on your perspective) the attempt of a Catholic Briton named Guy Fawkes to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605. He planned the attack for a day when the Protestant King James I would be addressing both the House of Commons and the House of Lords (and he & his co-conspirators would therefore be able to wipe out essentially the entire government.) They did this in protest of the repressions they faced as Catholics in a Protestant country, and because they realized that no other Catholic country was coming to their aid, and they would have to fight for themselves.
Unfortunately, Fawkes' plan was found out before its completion, and he and his co-conspirators were tortured, tried, and sentenced to death. They were to be hanged until almost dead, drawn, and then quartered, but Fawkes jumped off of the gallows and broke his neck instead (a much more pleasant way to die.) Guy Fawkes Day in England now villianizes Guy Fawkes (he is burned in effigy, which is why it is also often called Bonfire Night), but popular culture is starting to have some affection for him- hence V for Vendetta.

I originally went to see V with the hubby because Natalie Portman is his favourite actress (oh, the things we'll do for our guys) but needless to say, I've been converted, since I've seen it at least a dozen times now (It was great on Imax!) V the movie, and V the character are both amazing. Hugo Weaving is a fantastic actor (hello, Agent Smith, and Elrond!) and the fact that he can be so expressive while wearing the same mask for the whole movie is quite an achievement. I love the way that the movie appropriates Guy Fawkes Day as a force for social change. I'm not so in love with NPs fairly-terrible British accent, but I can overlook it. There's something just so satisfying about this movie- it's well-written, well-acted, suspenseful, timely & yet futuristic (slightly 1984-esque), and the ending is touching without being silly. See it, if you haven't already. You missed the 5th of November, but it's never the wrong day to watch V.