A new era is born in the film ‘Downton Abbey’

‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ is a spin-off of the British series of the same name that premiered in 2010. Photo: imdb.com

Fernando Creole. (I)

the aristocratic Crawley family and his entourage servants reappear on the big screen as protagonists of ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’.

This is the second feature film which is derived from the popular british series that has completed six seasons since its premiere in 2010. The film directed by simon curtis opens in theaters this weekend, Saturday, May 21, 2022.

The discreet charm of the aristocracy

that strange fascination for him luxury and the wealth makes many writers and filmmakers, with more or less success, venture to explore a lifestyle unknown to many.

From different angles and times, aristocratic or palatial life has inspired movies and series that they can have their own pigeonhole in the cinematographic spectrum. These productions do not fail to attract viewers.

The six seasons of ‘Downton Abbey’ demonstrate it and contemporary productions such as ‘The Crown’, ‘The Bridgetons’, ‘The Favorite’ or ‘Spencer’, to name a few, they reaffirm it.

The man behind the story

Behind this new story of the English countryside is the actor, writer, producer and director Julian Fellowes.

Born into the British landed gentry, Fellowes experienced first-hand the lifestyle, customs and traditions of a privileged class. That knowledge would inspire books like ‘snobs’ and productions like ‘Gosford Park’ (2001), which won the Oscar for Best Screenplay.

The work that would consecrate his success came in 2010 as a series that spanned five years. The story of ‘Downton Abbey’the series and movies, is developed to early 20th centurysince Eduardo VII assumes the throne of England.

At the center of the story is the Crawley familyhis family relationships, conflicts, achievements and intrigues, as well as his relationship with the servitude.

The counterpoint of history

Precisely those characters that are part of the service staff offer a complementary look. They appear as a contrast in a group of people who live in close proximity, but with very different expectations, in a hierarchical social system.

Other successes include integrating the Crawley family history into a series of historical eventsof which parents and grandparents of the younger generations are still heard talking.

The electricity, the cars, the early phones they are for some, an object of nostalgia and for others an exotic novelty from the past with which they can identify.

Of course ‘Downton Abbey’ is about a fiction written from the understanding of its creator about its environment and the patent knowledge of that time.

In this sense, production has not been free of questions. One of them came around the same time as the sequel through the book ‘Never in front of servants’ by Frank Victor Dawes. This work collects testimonials of people who had worked as servants in England and dismantles many idealized preconceptions in fiction.

A new age

In any case, as fiction, ‘Downton Abbey’ has gained so many followers that they asked to see their favorite characters again after the end of the series, now available on streaming platforms.

In 2019 came the first ‘spin-off’ of the series as a feature film focused on the stir caused by the visit of the Queen from England to Downton.

In the sequel, Fellowes has prepared a story that intersects two subplots from which it emerges drama, intrigue and humor necessary to pass two hours of footage without yawning.

On the one hand, film director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) wants shoot a movie in Downton and makes the family an offer they can’t afford to turn down, even if it means the actors and crew intruding on the family’s private lives.

In this context, the film makes its own tribute to cinema at a time when silent cinema seems to be dying before the arrival of sound.

While the mansion’s servants are excited to meet the movie stars, some members of the aristocratic family flee the meddling and travel to the South of France to find out why a mysterious friend of Violet’s left her a villa as an inheritance.

This trip serves to visually refresh the story with new locations and coastal landscapeswithout the aristocratic drama formula losing its tone.

In Downton, the new era will not only be experienced in the transition from silent to sound cinema, but also in the changes experienced by the characters themselves as part of a personal evolution and the requirement of the epoch.

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