The Application of Vachel Lindsay’s Intimate Photoplay in Jane Eyre (1996)

By Na Ma, Ohio University

Jane Eyre (1996), directed by Franco Zeffirelli, is a successful romantic epic and dramatic feature film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel. The film tells a story about an impoverished young woman named Jane Eyre (child played by Anna Paquin and adult by Charlotte Gainsbourg). When Jane is little, she is effectively abandoned by her aunt Mrs. Reed (Fiona Shaw) and sent to Lowood Institution, a school for poor or orphaned girls.  After six years as a student and two as a teacher, she leaves Lowood and is hired by Mr. Rochester (William Hurt) as a governess for Mr. Rochester’s daughter Adele (Josephine Serre). Later Rochester and Jane develop crushes on each other and fall in love and prepare to marry. But during the wedding ceremony, the proceedings are interrupted by Richard Mason (Edward de Souza) and lawyer Briggs (Peter Woodthorpe). They announce that Richard’s sister Bertha (Maria Schneider) is Mr. Rochester’s current wife and Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre cannot marry. Bertha is mentally ill and locked in the upstairs attic with a nurse named Grace Poole (Billie Whitelaw). Jane flees Thornfield and goes to her aunt’s home, and finds out she will inherit her long-lost uncle’s fortune in Madeira. She rejects a proposal from Parson St. John Rivers because her heart and soul is still with Rochester. She goes back to Thornfield Hall and discovers Rochester has been crippled and blinded by a fire set by Bertha, who has killed herself in the fire. Jane still loves Rochester and stays with him; she helps him recovers his eyesight and they marry with a happy ending.

Although this two-hour Hollywood movie version, a cooperative American, British, French and Italian production, compresses and eliminates many of the book’s plots such as Jane Eyre’s running away, trials and tribulations, new found relations, and new job, it is still close to the novel on which it is based.

Like most filmmakers, Zeffirelli, a director who is famous for literature adaptations, including Romeo and Juliet (1968) and La Traviata (1982), faced a crucial question: how to find an “acceptable” cinematic equivalent of prose for the narrative voice’s assertions and commentaries and the characters’ dialogues and internal focalization, to make them sufficiently understandable by viewers of the movie. Zeffirelli attributes the success of his adaptation technique to his unremitting attempts to peek into the hero’s and heroine’s private spheres by camera movements, close-ups, and exchanged glances. This brings to the viewers an intensity of the characters’ inner lives in an intimate manner that has been associated with Nicholas Vachel Lindsay’s intimate photoplay cinema theory.

Film is an Art

Vachel Lindsay (1879 – 1931) is one of the best-known poets in the United States. He is considered as the father of modern singing poetry and is called the “Prairie Troubador” because of his use of Midwestern American themes. Lindsay is also a performance artist and is always drawing illustrations for some of his poetry.

Lindsay first studied medicine at Ohio’s Hiram College from 1897 to 1900, and then from 1900 to 1903 he studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1904 he attended the New York School of Art (now The New School) to study pen and ink.

Those art studies later led him into silent film, because he saw film as a new form of art. According to critic Stanley Kauffmann, in his documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism[1], Lindsay’s 1915 book The Art of the Moving Picture is generally considered the first book of film criticism.

In the book The Art of the Moving Picture, Lindsay’s intimate thesis is pretty direct, and relatively simple.  Movies can tell the audience stories with vast scenes of action, but only the close ups give them intimacy.  Close Ups bring spectators into the movies. And they do it with both picture and sound. The full face, or the interaction between two people on screen, seems so real to the spectators that they feel that they are almost part of the action.  That’s where the intimacy comes into play.

Close Up

A close up can’t be too short; otherwise there is no good effect of intimacy. In the opening scene of the latest film version Jane Eyre (2011) by Cary Fukunaga, when Jane is walking outside in the rain, there are several very short and instant close ups of her face. When she falls down, the camera comes close to her face again trying to capture her pain, but fails to deliver that message. When she stands in the door and says, “I will die,” another brief close up to her face doesn’t signify so much. In the room, several attempts of close-up shots also do not stick long enough to create any effect of intimacy. One key factor of an intimate photoplay is to create longer close-up shots on the film subjects: those subjects should be humans instead of any other creatures or things. After several close ups, the beginning vague image of the protagonist in the audience mind will become more and more clear.

In the 1996 Jane Eyre, the Zeffirelli has created a high effect of intimacy for the audience by successfully using long, interior and proper close-up shots, as if the audience is in the scene and could talk to Jane Eyre.

It is also necessary to point out a small difference or advancement in the application of close up between Lindsay’s silent film and contemporary film. With the development of camera technology in modern film, it is possible to use multiple cameras capturing one subject’s expression from different angles or directions, or even two or three subjects’ faces by just switching the cameras. Camera operators have more possibilities and options to create intimacy for audiences. Therefore, the way we understand the close up is different and much more effective.

For example, several cameras work together and make parallel close ups of the faces of Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst (director of Lowood Institution), when they talk about little Jane’s “liar” problems. The audience can first see Mrs. Reed’s mean and serious expression clearly followed by Mr. Brocklehurst’s grave reaction when he hears Mrs. Reed’s description of Jane’s “tendency for deceit”. Several close ups switch back and forth between these two people. Without the advanced technology, it would not have been possible to for the audience go gain an intimate understanding of the of the two characters at the same time in Lindsay’s silent film days.

Small Space

How does one create intimate sense in a film? Lindsay first thinks filming in a small space to create the intimacy is important:

Just as the Action Picture has its photographic basis or fundamental metaphor in the long chase down the highway, so the Intimate Film has its photographic basis in the fact that any photoplay interior has a very small ground plan, and the coziest of enclosing walls.

In the modern film, the small space is larger than it was in silent film.  Nowadays we have different cameras, but in the olden days, filmmakers just had one camera. It also was not possible to move the camera, meaning that filming two characters with alternating close-up shots at the same time was less realistic. Now the multiple cameras shoot one person, then the other, with the two people talking from different angles. Advanced technology in the camera equipment plays an important role in creating and switching intimacy between different characters.

Even after the film ends, the audience can still remember Jane’s plain and scared face in the introductory sequence of the film when she is locked down by her aunt in the small red room where her uncle died.

Anther example is the scene when Helen is lying ill on her bed and Jane came to see her, and the two are lying together in this small bed. At that time, the camera only frames the small space between these two little girls’ heads and faces. With beautiful music in the background, the audience can see Helen kissing Jane’s face, before she quietly away quietly. This small space creates a sad atmosphere and clearly tells the audience about Jane’s deep emotions towards her best friend at Lowood.

Lindsay points out that the action picture, in contrast, will never have the intimacy effect. For example, to film a police car chasing some car down the highway with a long view of the road, the camera will almost never use a close up, but instead employs a long or medium shot. “Many a worth-while scene is acted out in a space no bigger than that which is occupied by an office boy’s stool and hat. (Lindsay 31)”. If the camera is filming two people talking, there should be a very small space.  And he adds,

If there is a table in this room, it is often so near it is half out of the picture or perhaps it is against the front line of the triangular ground-plan. Only the top of the table is seen, and nothing close up to us is pictured below that. We in the audience are privileged characters. Generally attending the show in bunches of two or three, we are members of the household on the screen. Sometimes we are sitting on the near side of the family board. Or we are gossiping whispering neighbors, of the shoemaker, we will say, with our noses pressed against the pane of a metaphoric window.

Intimacy often happens during conversation. When Jane and Mr. Rochester are in the study, as they start their second talk, there are some, but not many, close ups of both their eyes and faces, showing the characters’ inner world and the distance between them.


Second, to create an intimate sense, the scene should be shot in an interior space. Intimacy can be created outside, but the most successful intimate scenes can only be created within the interior space where the audience is not distracted by other subjects or activities. “Though the intimate-and-friendly photoplay may be carried out of doors to the row of loafers in front of the country store, or the gossiping streets of the village, it takes its origin and theory from the snugness of the interior. (Lindsay 32)”

When Jane arrives the new place – Mr. Rochester’s house – the camera moves from the external space into interior space. There are several close ups of the characters’ faces (the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax (Joan Plowright) and Jane) while the two are talking to each other. We can tell that Mrs. Fairfax is friendly and Jane is more careful about relaxing at a new place.

While film is often a “pleasurable medium”, the affect produced will not necessarily be enjoyable. (Clarke 267)  Lindsay says we need to analyze the intimacy from an artistic perspective (29). There are brief close-ups the first time when Jane meets Mr. Rochester. Because the scene happens when she is walking outside the house, it is more suitable for the camera to use more long shots instead of close ups.  Although the camera moves back and forth between Jane and Mr. Rochester when Jane tries to lead the horse, from the close up, we can tell Mr. Rochester smiles, but not much.  These limited close ups of the hero don’t say much about him. At this point, the camera’s intimate subject focus is still on the heroine- Jane Eyre. Another successful close up in the interior space is when Jane talks to her ill aunt in the room. Several close ups in this small room show her aunt’s regret and guilt for treating Jane so badly. Her pain is shown clearly when she says, “You were born to be my torment,” to Jane but is still mean when she refuses to be friends with Jane after Jane offers to make up.

A crucial part that makes the film stand out as art is that the camera creates these intimacies so successfully as well as describing different characters’ distinct personality.


It’s important for actors to help create the feeling of intimacy. Some examples demonstrate when the actor is very successful in developing intimacy with the viewers through facial expression or body language. Good acting makes it easier for the camera to capture a good sense of intimacy. If an actor is supposed to be angry, the way the actor faces the camera to show anger matters, because the viewer is supposed to see the anger from the acting in those close-up shots.

There are very beautiful close ups between Miss Temple (Amanda Root) and Helen when they two sit together in Lowood and talk. Amanda Root is an English stage and screen actress who has many stage performance skills. Stage performers usually have more experience and know more about how to create direct intimacy with viewers. Her acting helps the audience understand that she is kind. Her right face angle towards the camera lets the audience see both of their smiles clearly, which creates a friendly and familiar intimate sense. Or when Jane tells Mr. Rochester she needs to leave to see her ill aunt, Mrs. Reed, there are switching and increased close ups between Jane and Mr. Rochester. We can tell the hero’s and heroine’s relationship is getting closer and the until now hidden truth that Mr. Rochester’s subtle feeling that he deeply doesn’t want Jane leave him.

Lindsay took Marguerite Clark as an example, an actress who was good at acting, to build this intimacy with audiences:

So let there be recorded here the name of another actress who is always in the intimate-and-friendly mood and adapted to close-up interiors, Marguerite Clark. She is endowed by nature to act, in the same film, the eight-year-old village pet, the irrepressible sixteen-year-old, and finally the shining bride of twenty.

But no production in which she acts that has happened to come under my eye has done justice to those possibilities. The transition from one of these stages to the other is not marked by the producer with sufficient delicate graduation, emphasis, and contrast. Her plots have been but sugared nonsense, or swashbuckling ups and downs. She shines in a bevy of girls. She has sometimes been given the bevy. (Lindsay 34-35)

When Mr. Rochester sees Jane’s painting of him, he shows a little happiness. But after Jane replies to Mr. Rochester that she does not think he is handsome, Mr. Rochester’s face turns upset and grave. He leaves and quickly walks to his horse. At this point, the audience might think Mr. Rochester has serious and potentially mean characteristics. But when Jane comes back from her aunt’s house, the brief close up tells the audience that Mr. Rochester is really happy about her return. The audience might get confused when Mr. Rochester changes so quickly from anger to smiles. In the novel, Mr. Rochester is indeed a mysterious and complicated figure who is hard to decipher.

The actor who plays Mr. Rochester is William Hurt, another film and stage actor, who has won an Academy Award and a BAFTA[2] Award for Best Actor, for portraying an effeminate gay man in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), two Academy Award nominations for his lead performances in Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987), and a first Tony Award nomination in 1985 for the Broadway production of Hurlyburly. These were all before he made this film. We can tell why director Zeffirelli choose him to play the complicated Mr. Rochester, who indeed requires high acting skills.


A fine sense of intimacy between the camera and audience is one of the very important factors in judging the quality of a film.

What is important for my purposes is acknowledging the pleasure found in the medium of film. I am dissatisfied with simply ‘reading film’ and considering the ways in which the techniques and conventions encourage me to think in particular ways about the narrative and characters: films have value because they make me react – laugh and cry – against my better judgments. As such, I must acknowledge the way film makes me feel, considering both positive and negative reactions. (Clarke, 267)

Good intimacy also requires the camera to move with the character, and the audience’s eyes to move with the character. When Jane kneels down in front of Helen’s grave, the camera moves with her, from the head to the bottom. The members of the audience can sense more about Jane’s sorrow and feel they were just there with her, sharing her sadness in missing Helen.

Another such scene shows the blind Mr. Rochester kneeling down in the last part of the film to touch Jane’s dress when he hears Jane’s voice. The camera moves with Mr. Rochester, which better shows his poor position, not as healthy and wealthy as Jane. In another aspect, it shows clearly how much Jane loves Mr. Rochester, not his money or good looks.

Sometimes it’s hard for the audience to move its intimacy from the childhood protagonist to the adult one. A good way to slow down that sudden change is for the camera to focus on the character’s profile face or side view of somebody and not to give too much front face. When the scene first comes to the adult Jane Eyre outside Lowood as she is talking to Miss Temple, the camera doesn’t shoot her front face at all. All the audience can tell is that she is taller and older than before. Probably the director knows it’s hard for the audience to recognize the new Jane’s face and the truth that Jane is now grown up.

One thing we should always remember is that what can be shown in the intimate scenes does not always require the close ups:

The Intimate Motion Picture is the word’s new medium for studying, not the great passions, such as black hate, transcendent love, devouring ambition, but rather the half relaxed or gently restrained moods of human creatures. It gives also our idiosyncrasies. It is gossip in extremis. It is apt to chronicle our petty little skirmishes, rather than our feuds. In it Colin Clout and his comrades return. (Lindsay 32)

Filmmakers can’t always use intimate scenes in their films since it is hard to use a close up to capture great passion. It can only capture characters’ personal aspects.

For example, in a larger scene such as on a battlefield, the film wants to capture somebody who is hungry for power, but the director can’t show that in a close-up scene because it a too broad a topic. In addition, some plots of the films are so complicated that the audience can’t see many intimate scenes. There are limits to how much intimacy the audience can feel, but this doesn’t mean the creation of intimacy in a film is not important.

Don’t Crowd Characters

In the wedding scene, the camera doesn’t capture too much about other guests’ reactions when the shocking news is released that Mr. Rochester already has a wife. There are just close ups of the faces of Mr. Rochester and Jane when the lawyer shows up and stops the wedding.  We can see Mr. Rochester is sad and Jane is shocked about what has happened to them. When Jane flees the wedding ceremony, he becomes worried and sad, and starts to chase Jane with complicated guilt.

Last, to create an intimate scene, Lindsay argues that a professional filmmaker can’t have too many people in the camera:

The Intimate Photoplay should not crowd its characters. It should not choke itself trying to dramatize the whole big bloody plot of Lorna Doone, or any other novel with a dozen leading people. Yet some gentle episode from the John Ridd farm, some half-chapter when Lorna and the Doones are almost forgotten, would be fitting. Let the duck-yard be parading its best, and Annie among the milk-pails, her work for the evening well night done. The Vicar of Wakefield has his place in this form.” (Lindsay 30)

There are some close ups of other characters in the film, but intimacy with Jane and Mr. Rochester are the only two developed intimacy relationships the film allows the audience to have.

The audience may feel Mr. Rochester is distant and hard to figure out when the film doesn’t provide many close-up shots of him in the beginning. He might not want to show his feelings or share the difficulty of his life with others, so he keeps holding back. It is not until the scene when he shows he has feelings for Jane that the camera gives a close up of him, especially when they kiss and hug each other. The audience starts to know Mr. Rochester as a man with flesh and blood, not just coldness.

In order to succeed in an intimate scene, the camera should never put many people in the close-up shots. When Jane and Adele and Mrs. Fairfax are in the same room, there are always a few close ups of Adele and Mr. Fairfax. When the camera frames Mrs. Fairfax and Jane’s back when the two are talking, there are no close ups of Mrs. Fairfax, because there is no need and the audience only needs to build an intimate relationship with the heroine. Adele and Mr. Fairfax are not the main protagonists.

When the film comes to the ball scene, the camera does not shoot many characters. When people are dancing and several women are speaking ill about Jane, the new governess, while she sits close to them, all the close ups are focused on Jane’s face, pale, disappointed and pale.

Some films are so complicated, that if there are too many people in the scene, audiences will get confused:

The Intimate-and-friendly Motion Picture might very well give humorous moments in the lives of the great, King Alfred burning the cakes, and other legendary incidents of him. Plato’s writings give us glimpses of Socrates, in between the long dialogues. And there are intimate scraps in Plutarch. (Lindsay 31)

In Jane Eyre, when Bertha’s brother Richard is bleeding profusely, the camera still focuses on Jane’s resolve and calm face, instead of capturing Richard’s pain.

Partial Intimacy

Lindsay points out that the amount of intimate film is very limited. This thoughtful issue comes at the bottom of p. 36 in The Art of The Moving Picture,[3] edited by Martin Scorsese–“[I]t is easier to find performers who fit this chapter, than to find films.” Most, if not all, films will have good close ups, but Lindsay found it hard to find movies in which this intimacy suffuses all or most of the film.  In the case of Jane Eyre (1996), the intimacy in certain parts or certain themes of the film is particularly important.

Close-up shots play an important role in telling the audience the development of the close relationship between little Jane and her friend Helen Burns (Leanne Rowe). When Jane goes to Lowood and meets other girls in that school, there are several close ups of the face of Jane and Helen as they are standing and singing. It gives a small clue that Jane is going to have a special relationship with this girl. When the two girls are sleeping together in the same bed at night and talking, there are close ups of their faces, intimately showing their naïve and loving hearts.

It’s hard to find a movie that uses every shot to create intimacy, as Lindsay suggests in his book. Usually only parts of movies have that intimacy. When Mrs. Fairfax talks with Jane in the painting room, there are mainly medium shots and not so many close ups, because the director wants the audience to concentrate on what she is saying instead of her reaction.  The director does not want the audience have a close intimate relationship with Mr. Fairfax.

It’s difficult to find a whole film among the silent films prior to 1915.  A good example of the use of intimacy in the “talking” film era is the 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff, by Edward Albee.

When Jane and Mr. Rochester talk about Adele’s mother, there are not too many close ups of both of them. The director wants the audience focus on the story more than the character’s emotions.  He also probably doesn’t want the audience to get too close to Mr. Rochester so quickly at the beginning of the film.

During the scene when Jane hears the crazy voice and laugh from upstairs, and puts out the fire, there is no close up of her at all, even when she is the only character in those scenes. The director wants the audience focus on the story, instead of the individual, or the individual’s emotions or personality (Cynthia 380). Here, we can make a conclusion: when it’s about the story or the plot, there are usually no close ups; when it’s about people’s emotions or personality, the close up usually helps.

Lindsay suggests silent films would be understood better if they were analyzed more with his intimacy theory, particularly the comedies.  He thinks spectators in 1915 did not identify with many funny scenes because those films rarely showed intimacy. “So far as my experience has gone, the best of the comedians is Sidney Drew,”(33) he observes. He opines that Drew’s performance shines in the comedy Who is Who in Hogg’s Hollow (1914), instead of Jane Eyre’s Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford.

He does mention one particular film as a good example of intimacy in his time:  “The most successful motion picture drama of the intimate type ever placed before mine eyes was Enoch Arden, produced by Cabanne.” This shows the importance of the use of intimate photoplay in a film.

The second time a lengthy close up is used in the film being discussed here happens in the conversation between the heroine and hero after Jane puts out the fire.

Mr. Rochester: Are you leaving me?

Jane Eyre: You told me to go.

Mr. Rochester: You are saving my life.

Here, we are getting to know Mr. Rochester better, as he shows his true emotions and sincere gratitude toward Jane, with the camera moving slowly from the back to the front, while the two are standing and interacting.

When the two are walking in the garden at night after the ball, there are close ups of the conversation when they express their feelings towards each other.

Jane Eyre: Perhaps you are getting married.

Mr. Rochester: I love you.

Jane Eyre: I also love you.

Mr. Rochester: You are the woman I want to marry.

The camera moves close to the viewers from the back to the front as the two kiss and embrace each other. The closer the camera, the easier the audience can feel Mr. Rochester’s strong love feelings towards Jane.

Identify with One Character

How many intimate relationships can the camera have with the audience in a film? Most films during the year 1915 focused on one individual to establish an intimate relationship with the audience. It’s difficult to focus on more than one actor or actress in a silent film. The silent films usually focused on one main character to tell stories in a limited space without words. Audiences could see the characters’ faces and their reactions, and feel as if they belonged to, or as if they were in the film. Film, in Lindsay’s words, is a particular art, not designed to make money or just for entertainment, but to make images/stories come alive to us. That’s the meaning of film. To produce a very successful intimacy film scene is like painting: it’s an art, and takes real talent and skill.

Lindsay suggests the camera should focus on one character:

The only definite people are the hero and heroine in the foreground, and maybe one other. Though these three be in ball-costume, the little triangle they occupy next to the camera is in sort an interior, while the impersonal guests behind them conform to the pageant principles of out-of-doors, and the dancers are to the main actors as is the wind-shaken forests to the charcoal-burner, or the bending grain to the reaper. (Lindsay 32)

Intimate photoplay should identify with people, with the main character, not a grave, stones, or any inanimate objects (Borie 118).  There are very broad frame shots of little Jane’s crying face standing in front of a very clean wall without a painting or anything else in the background. The audience sees that Jane is in the center of the frame and looking at the dead Helen and crying, especially as tears stream from her eyes. The frame is not as small as the old silent frame, which is probably half as wide, or two thirds as wide as today’s screen. This scene of Jane and Helen also creates a feeling of intimacy in the audience, because the clean background doesn’t distract the audience and makes the audience focus on Jane’s sad face. The camera on purpose puts Miss Temple’s face just behind Jane’s head and prevents the audience from seeing Miss Temple’s face and her emotions. We can probably guess that Miss Temple is as sad as Jane, but because Jane is the main character the audience needs to identify with her empathy, so it is reasonable and smart to hide Miss Temple’s face from the camera.

To identify with one character allows viewers to feel and think about things they might not experience, but it can also contribute to greater affective and emotional understanding. As Gaut suggests, they assist the viewer to grow emotionally (213). At the beginning, the audience may think Jane is like a nun with chilly unattractive manner. With more and more intimate scenes showing her glacial eyes, determined face, and calmed expressions, the audience discovers Jane has strong internal passions, resolve and strength, and is good at expressing her opinions and dealing with trouble.

Bragg argues that watching television can assist in “developing empathy and seeing things from others’ perspectives” (329).  Gregg, another scholar, suggests that empathy can help raise consciousness “as a means to foster identification with the plight of others.” (28) Plantinga argues that both empathy (sharing emotions) and sympathy (caring/concerning emotions) can assist audiences to identify with the characters (99). Viewers will feel Rochester is a Byronic anti-hero who has a cold face and appearance but has a kind heart, and is just tortured and tormented by family troubles, past injustices and secrets.

To make the identification with a character deeply personal, audiences need to identify with particular elements (Gaut 205), because it is impossible to identify with every aspect of the character. Jane is the first main character with whom the audience should build an intimate relationship. The audience can clearly feel the changes in Jane’s emotions from those different multiple close-up shots her face in different scenes. When Jane first sees Mr. Rochester’s picture, she smiles, and the audience can guess Jane has a good first impression of Mr. Rochester. When she looks at the mirror, and says to herself, “you are a fool,” after Mrs. Fairfax tells her Mr. Rochester is busy with another woman, the audience can feel she is upset. When Mr. Rochester brings home another woman – the seeming potentially future wife – before the ball, the camera moves from back to front, capturing her pale face behind the window as Jane looks at Mr. Rochester from upstairs, and the audience can sense Jane is pained. But when Jane looks at the mirror again after Mr. Rochester proposes to her, the audience can tell she is joyous because of her clearly smiling face. When Mr. Rochester puts the ring on her hand, the close up tells the audience that Jane is happy. When Jane is leaving Mr. Rochester after the unsuccessful wedding, the camera closely shoots her facial expression as she says, “ I love you and this is the last time I ever say it,” the audience can feel the great pain behind this pretend calmed face. When Jane is in her aunt’s house and thinks a lot about Mr. Rochester, the close up goes to the moment when Jane stares at the window and says, “I love you,” the audience can understand how regretfully Jane leaves Mr. Rochester and that she probably wants to come back to him. In the end, the close ups of the two embracing each other and the shots in which Jane says she will marry him and stay with him, tells the audience that Jane truly loves Mr. Rochester. Gaut notes that, “[t]o empathize with a character involves feeling what fictionally she is feeling; since most characters have a concern for their own welfare, by empathizing with them one will also be sympathetic to them” (211).


The portrayal or staging of intimacy and romanticism actually has some very modern elements. It’s not sexual intimacy, but the intimacy one feels when talking to friends, or more aptly, listening to friends talk. It’s the intimate relationship between the audience/viewers and the actors/actresses in the film area. Spectators cannot see that in a stage play; only a film allows them to have an intimate sense with the characters through the camera movements and close-up shots. It needs talent and skills: that’s one reason why Lindsay thinks film is an art.

From the very beginning shots of the introductory sequence in the film Jane Eyre (1996), which are made in small and interior spaces without crowded characters, the viewers almost become voyeurs beyond the obstacles between the camera and little Jane Eyre’s perspective, which are alternately melted and restored on the film screen.


Bragg, Sara. “‘Having a Real Debate’: Using Media as a Resource in Sex Education.” Sex Education 6.4 (2006): 317–331. Print.

Borie, Charlotte. “From Shrine to Stage: Inner Space and the Curtain in Jane Eyre
.” Brontë Studies 34. 2 (July 2009): 107–116. Print.

Cynthia, Carlton-Ford. “Intimacy without Immolation: Fire in Jane Eyre.” Women’s Studies 15(1988): 375-386. Print.

Clarke, Kyra. “Pedagogical Moments: Affective Sexual Literacies in Film.” Sex Education 13.3(2013): 263–275. Print.

Gaut, Berys. “Identification and Emotion in Narrative Film.” In Passionate views, ed. C. Plantinga and G.M. Smith, Johns Hopkins University Press. Maryland: Baltimore, 1999. 200–216. Print.

Gregg, Melissa. Cultural Studies’ Affective Voices. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.

Kauffmann, Stanley. For the Love of Movies: The story of American Film Criticism. Paramount, 2006. DVD.

Lindsay, Vachel. The Art of The Moving Picture. Ed. Martin Scorsese 2000. New York: Macmillan, 1915. Print.

Plantinga, Carl. Moving viewers: American film and the spectator’s experience. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2009. Print.

[1] Figures from film history who appear in photographs include Vincent Canby, Bosley Crowther, James Agee, Otis Ferguson, Vachel Lindsay, and Frank E. Woods.

[2] BAFTA is short for British Academy Film Awards

[3] The original was published in 1915