Jane Austen’s Fight Club

This is possibly the greatest YouTube video I have ever seen. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a faux trailer for a film about a fight club consisting of Jane Austen characters. There’s a transcript below the cut. You absolutely have my permission to repost the transcript, and please do, but I would appreciate a note and link of credit and if you’d let me know!

I’m so pleased to see people who aren’t white in a video like this, and every time I watch this anew I am more and more impressed by the high production values of a video obviously done on quite a small scale! They have to produce the film the “trailer” is for, don’t you think?

Transcript:

Fade from black into a shot panning over misty hills. Gentle piano music plays and we transition into a shot looking up into trees. And then down into yellow flowers as a bee flies around to the right.

To black and then two young ladies are walking, arm in arm, through a garden. Pink flowers are to the left of the shot, and, closer to us, yellow flowers are to the right. The woman on the left is in a white bonnet and a blue dress, holding a purple posy. The one on the right is wearing pink and a fascinator and has a smaller white posy.

Lizzie (which, as we will learn, is the name of the lady in pink, and who is smiling as she leans in head in a little towards her companion): I want you to hit me as hard as you can.
Fanny (the one in blue): What?

They stop and turn to each other. Close up of Lizzie, who has a hint of a smile about her features.

Lizzie: Hit me.

Fade to black and a voiceover: Wait. Allow me to begin earlier.

Back again. Then: Fanny and two women just behind her sides look very bored indeed.

VO: For all of us, life had become an endless surrender to propriety. [One of the ladies is sitting at her sewing.] A lady had her duties, [the pianist is shown, head resting on the piano, bored] her expected accomplishments, her polite affections [as Emma, as well will soon know her to be, meets a man passing in a corridor and they greet each other formally] and the primary objective to marry or, for all intents and purposes, perish [as the shot pans from a couple with eyes only for each other to a sad-looking young woman sitting on a couch with a fluffy white dog. The dog jumps down from her lap and her head sinks into her right hand].

Black, and back to the shot of the three women. Lizzie comes down the staircase.

Fanny in VO: She changed everything. [As we return to the opening conversation and Lizzie smiling hugely.]

[More contemporary music starts. Lizzie is making mock jabs at Fanny] Lizzie: Come on! Hit me before I lose my nerve! [Fanny slaps her lightly on the shoulder. Lizzie looks and her shoulder and then contemptuously at Fanny.] Really?

A group of young women, some in dresses and some in long period undergarments, are gathered around in a garden, cheering on a fight between Lizzie and a woman who wins.

VO: It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue…

[Close up of Emma, who raises her hand] Emma: Can I be next?

VO: … she just gave it a name.

[Shot quickly pans to Lizzie.] Lizzie: Ladies. [She slips off her dress to show frilly undergarments] Welcome to Fight Club. [She walks forward, out of shot.]

[Lizzie’s VO begins as there are shots of one of them admiring a bruise on her cheek in the mirror and the sewer from before lowering her sewing from in front of her face, revealing a black eye. She smiles.] VO: The first rule of fight club is one never mentions Fight Club.

Lizzie, walking down a line of fighters standing outside: No corsets, no hatpins, and no crying. [She turns back to give a stern look to someone who looks aside and down, abashed.] If this is your first invitation to Fight Club… [change of shot] you must fight. [She smiles back at them.]

Another fight scene, with the onlookers cheering them on, in which Fanny wins over Lizzie. In another, one fighter swings from a tree to kick another in the chest. In another, a fighter cartwheels to standing and then has her nose twisted. In another, one fighter simply punches another in the face. With that shot, the voiceover starts again…

Fanny VO: After Fight Club, we were inclined to see the world differently. [A shot of one woman playing the piano with her skirts hitched up and a gash on her leg. Lizzie dances in a close and contemporary style with a young man.]

[Fanny is sitting at a table with a young woman who is cutting a cake.] Woman: Is that your blood?

[Fanny glances down at the rose on her dress, which is stained.] Fanny: Oh. Yes. Some of it. [Her companion looks horrified.]

Lizzie VO: You’re going to start a fight with a complete stranger.

Emma walks up to someone with whom she is playing croquet and slaps her lightly. A woman is reading a book as someone walks up behind her and pushes her into a hedge.

Lizzie VO: And you’re going to lose.

One of the fighters is dragged backwards over a lawn, to the right of the shot.

Fade to black as Fanny’s VO continues: We were no longer good society.

The music flares as the young women come down a staircase, the movement jumping forward a little with each surge of the music. Lizzie is at the front. Coloured splotches appear on the screen with the words, in white, ‘IN 1810′.

Lizzie punches someone and something sprays out of the latter’s mouth, shown in slow motion. Next, there is a shot of the women dancing in a very anachronistic style, some on a balcony, some in a front garden. Then a shot of a young woman pulling a young man in towards her. Again the coloured splotches, and the words ‘AND 2011′ appear.

Back to a fight as Lizzie gets punched, and a close-up as she thuds to earth. She leans up a little and smiles. Splotches and ‘LIZZIE’. A shot of Fanny smashing her companion’s head into the cake and ‘FANNY’. Emma punches someone in the face, and she is shown with her name, teeth bared. One of the Dashwoods flips the other over as they walk across a lawn, tossing her shoes down the lawn. ‘THE DASHWOODS’ appears amongst splotches with pictures of them both with their fists raised and bruised cheeks. Lizzie, in a faux leopard fur coat, backs away from Fanny, who has her back to us.

Lizzie: In the end you’ll thank me!

She puts on her sunglasses, gestures widely, sharply and defiantly, and turns to walk away.

Indoors, two women confer. One of the women: I suppose they think this will throw them into the path of eligible young men.

…as Fanny is pushed over, only to fall into a young man’s arms very stylishly.

Lizzie is pushed as she walks along with one of the women. Another fight shot. All the while, we have a voiceover from Fanny’s young man:

VO: You’re very clever, aren’t you? How’s that going for you? Being clever […as we see him behind her, talking in her ear.]

A shot of Fanny pulling her companion out of the cake by the hair, and the two women who were conferring, one now laughing and one now drinking tea. A shot of Lizzie and two others looking serious. Lizzie turns her head to her right. Meanwhile, Fanny is looking back.

Fanny: Splendidly.

Lizzie, back in her coat, walks past the one of the conferring women, who is on the balcony holding a cup of tea. She knocks it out of her hand and far onto the lawn.

A splotchy title card appears, with ‘Jane Austen’s’ in a delicate font, followed by ‘Fight Club’ in strong capitals.

Lizzie, post teacup-knocking, throws a punch in the air and walks off before us. Black, and it’s over.

Here are the credits from the YouTube page:

We were no longer “good society.” janeaustensfightclub@gmail.com

Directed by Emily Janice Card & Keith Paugh
Written by Emily Janice Card
Director of Photography: Keith Paugh
Editing and Visual Effects: Jeff Dickson
Produced by Jeff Dickson, Emily Janice Card, Wendy Crompton
Stunt Choreography: Michelle Crompton
Sound Department: Leslie Paugh & Russell Lloyd
Makeup and Hair: Farrah Walker
Cast: Esther Rawlings, Emily Janice Card, Farrah Walker, Wendy Crompton, Michelle Crompton, Julie Hinton, Jessica Preece, Bonnie Anderson, Tiffany Jordan, Renee Miller, Kristen Hill, Kathryn Kulish, David Axelgard, Travis Morgan

© 2010 [RELATIVELY BADARSE PRODUCTIONS]

Author: has written 142 posts for this blog.

Chally is a student by day, a freelance writer by night, a scary, scary feminist all the time, and a voracious reader whenever she has a spare moment. She also blogs at Zero at the Bone. Full bio here.
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46 Responses

  1. Ruben
    Ruben August 1, 2010 at 5:11 am |

    i swear, Betty Friedan reads like Chuck Palahniuk in some places.

  2. Shiyiya
    Shiyiya August 1, 2010 at 5:27 am |

    That is AMAZING, and I’ve never read Jane Austen or seen Fight Club (or whatever the movie is called, I have the vague feeling it’s something else?).

  3. Sarah
    Sarah August 1, 2010 at 6:51 am |

    Not a big fan of Jane Austen, but I loved the zombie and sea-monster versions. This is even better!

  4. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub August 1, 2010 at 7:14 am |

    I loved this!!!

  5. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable August 1, 2010 at 7:56 am |

    Sarah, the P+P+Z was so better than S+S+SM. Zombies trump sea monsters everytime.

    This is definitely up there, though.

  6. Bushfire
    Bushfire August 1, 2010 at 8:42 am |

    I’ve also never read Jane Austen or seen fight club, but this video is awesome! I wish they were gonna make the movie.

  7. Jessie
    Jessie August 1, 2010 at 8:46 am |

    This. is. fantastic.

  8. Shakatany
    Shakatany August 1, 2010 at 9:10 am |

    I heard somewhere that the girls who made it are Mormons so now I’m really curious about the backstory of the production.

  9. Stella
    Stella August 1, 2010 at 11:03 am |

    I love this! as a massive fan of jane austen (including zombie spin-offs) and fight club i absolutely LOVE IT! heard it was done by editors of Jezebel? if you haven’t read any, watch some of the BBC productions of Jane Austen: pride and prejudice and Mansfield Park by far my favs!…also awesome bollywood spin off of pride and prejudice: bride and prejudice. her man characters always kick some serious ass.

  10. Ostien
    Ostien August 1, 2010 at 11:04 am |

    I almost died laughing when I saw this a few days ago. Bravo. Also yeah the thing with production values is interesting. I mean you can shoot a high quality movie now a days with a decent HD camera, which is really cool and has lead to an increase in independent films.

  11. Mongoose6
    Mongoose6 August 1, 2010 at 11:37 am |

    What I really love is how this reverses the P+P+Z, which some were concerned was a man coopting a woman’s work. But this is women coopting famous manfiction (Fight Club is very dudely). So, not only is this cool in and of itself, but it’s also really cool at a more meta level.

  12. Stella
    Stella August 1, 2010 at 11:53 am |

    apologies, i meant main characters.

  13. jaded16
    jaded16 August 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm |

    Absolutely hilarious. I loved it! Though between this and the Brontesauraus, I can’t figure out which was more awesome.

  14. LC
    LC August 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm |

    I was never a huge fan of Fight Club, but I still liked this a lot. I think Brontesauraus was funnier, though.

    I also heard that these are Mormon women and suspect there is some kind of interesting backstory here.

  15. LC
    LC August 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

    I also quite like – We were no longer “good society.”

  16. prosaica
    prosaica August 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm |

    This is awesome. For the fans of Zombies and Sea Monsters, check out Northanger Abbey – a parody of gothic horror novels written by JA herself in her late teens.
    My favorite Austen work is Lady Susan, with a wonderful vilainess as main character. Remember: you can read Jane Austen for free, and there are even free audiobook versions of most of it.

  17. Heather Aurelia
    Heather Aurelia August 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |

    I have seen both Jane Austen’s books flash on television and I am a fan of Fight Club the movie and the book. This looks fricken’ awesome. I love how there an Asian woman and black women in there, too. Lol, this movie sounds fun.

  18. de Pizan
    de Pizan August 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm |

    Not a great deal of backstory, but from what I understand, this is from the Mormon Santa Monica, CA singles ward, which does an amateur film festival every year. This year the theme was The Twisted Tales of Tim Burton, and this video was the Grand Prize winner. Emily Janice Card (who plays Fanny and is one of the directors/writers) is daughter of writer Orson Scott Card.

  19. K.O.
    K.O. August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm |

    Shakatany, it’s true that this was made by a Mormon youth group, which I think is the funniest (and most confusing) part!

  20. Valerie2
    Valerie2 August 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm |

    OMG almost snorted my drink out my nose. Thank you!!

  21. Jigae
    Jigae August 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm |

    Shakatany: I heard somewhere that the girls who made it are Mormons so now I’m really curious about the backstory of the production.  

    I heard this too. There has to be a story here.

    Thanks for the transcript!

  22. Aydan
    Aydan August 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm |

    This is a fun clip!

    Re: the backstory discussion, there was also a 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice in a Latter Day Saints setting (not sure if it was specifically Mormon).

  23. K.O.
    K.O. August 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm |

    I found an article about it for anyone who’s interested.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/07/27/jane-austens-heroines-kick-butt-literally/

  24. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm |

    I hate this video. I don’t think women perpetrating violence on each other is funny. Women sporting black eyes don’t generate a chuckle in me. Women being dragged across the ground – I wince.

    Just not my kind of humor.

  25. tigtog
    tigtog August 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm | *

    Thanks for the transcript, Chally – I’ve added it to the post I put up on Friday over at Hoyden.

  26. Links across the bloggiverse | definatalie.com

    […] Fight Club. Posted for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen it on Jezebel yet ;) Chally at Feministe kindly did a transcript for it […]

  27. Ali
    Ali August 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: I hate this video.I don’t think women perpetrating violence on each other is funny.Women sporting black eyes don’t generate a chuckle in me.Women being dragged across the ground – I wince.Just not my kind of humor.  

    I second this. The whole video made me squirm uncomfortably rather than laugh out loud because it reminded me too much of domestic violence, regardless of the fact that it’s “consensual” girl-on-girl violence (although this, too, could be called into question when you see the fear and trepidation on the faces of some of the initiates). In the original Fight Club, the twist ending (which I won’t spoil, for those who haven’t seen it) redeemed a lot of what the characters had done, but in this spoof, there’s no sense of that. And, yeah, I know it’s not really supposed to be taken this seriously, but I don’t think violence against women should be played for laughs in any context.

  28. beastmomma
    beastmomma August 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm |

    I really enjoyed the video and referenced it in my latest blog post: http://beastmomma.squarespace.com/life-from-the-belly-of-the-bea/my-kind-of-fight-club.html

  29. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz August 2, 2010 at 12:26 am |

    Emily Janice Card (who plays Fanny and is one of the directors/writers) is daughter of writer Orson Scott Card.

    I really hope that she’s only influenced by his early work…

    I actually like the idea of the Austen heroines doing something radically improper, but Fight Club in general leaves me cold. (“The first rule of fight club…” gives me an instant headache.) I actually think an action flick setting with helicopters, random explosions, and gunfire that never hits anything would work better, although it would be a lot harder on one’s budget.

  30. Jane Austen’t Fight Club « Girl Gone Geek's Blog

    […] Read the transcript and more about it on Feministe. […]

  31. GurlGoneGeek
    GurlGoneGeek August 2, 2010 at 8:09 am |

    Hey great post I just did one on my blog and suggested that people read yours to know more about it.

    http://gurlgonegeek.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/jane-austent-fight-club/

  32. Nikki
    Nikki August 2, 2010 at 11:40 am |

    The whole point of Fight Club was that the guys traded in their lives as emasculated, dull automatons for lives as mindless, pugilistic automatons–nothing changed, except that they now had shiners and split lips. They weren’t empowered; they were still just space monkeys.

    So I find it difficult to see how beating the snot out of each other under the direction of a female Tyler Durden would, in any way, emancipate the marry-or-perish crowd. Perhaps they’re not slaves to feminine ideals, but they haven’t developed minds of their own, just a secret society devoted to embracing the inverse. Self-definition through opposition is a poor substitute for the real thing. You’re nothing more than not-this or not-that.

    And then there’s the actual fighting. As someone said before, the spectre of domestic violence hovers very near to this video. I’m reminded of the line from the original Fight Club, “Sometimes Tyler speaks for me.” Would “Emma” say the same of “Lizzie”? How would that change things?

    I know I’m taking this all very seriously, much more so than I’m sure the filmmakers intended. I’m just thinking of what this would be like if it were stretched into an actual film. What would be the point? How would these characters grow from pounding each other to pulp in petticoats? The laugh only takes you so far.

  33. Megan
    Megan August 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

    tinfoil hattie: I hate this video.I don’t think women perpetrating violence on each other is funny.Women sporting black eyes don’t generate a chuckle in me.Women being dragged across the ground – I wince.Just not my kind of humor.  

    Um…it’s a parody??

  34. anna
    anna August 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm |

    If this was an actual full-length movie, it could show how neither feminine nor masculine gender roles allow a person to live a full life. The Jane Austen women are stifled in the stereotypical feminine role, and try to find liberation and excitement by becoming stereotypically masculine, but then they find that doesn’t allow them to express their whole personalities either, so they go on a quest for true self-actualization. That’s how I’d do it.

  35. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm |

    Megan:

    Um … enough with the stupid consdescension?

    I know it’s a parody. That it is a parody does not thereby require me to find it funny. I do not think there is humor in beating people up. I do not think it’s funny to “parody” the idea that freedom from oppression involves beating one another up.

    I repeat: Not my kind of humor.

  36. Jane Austen e o vídeo Clube da Luta | Jane Austen em Português

    […] blog Feministe publicou o “Jane Austen’s Fight Club” com transcrição e explicações do vídeo, em inglês, mas com o Google Translator ou qualquer […]

  37. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac August 3, 2010 at 3:37 am |

    I don’t find women beating each other up funny. And I winced quite a bit when the woman walking along reading a book was jumped from behind, since that’s actually happened to me more than once (I walk and read, some people seem to find that offensive or at least think I’m a soft target).

    But nevertheless…

    The trailer is extraordinary in production values.

    And though the fights as presented in the trailer are pointless, I do like the idea of women being presented as able to fight – I would just like to see this, if it were a movie, turn from bored girls fighting each other for excitement, into tough girls fighting their enemies.

    (It was the only thing I really liked about P+P+Z – the presentation of Elizabeth Bennett as an expert swordfighter.)

  38. Megan
    Megan August 3, 2010 at 11:39 am |

    Yes, because stupid “consdescension” is what I was going for. And pot, meet kettle?

    The point was not to say, “HEY WHY DON’T YOU FIND THIS FUNNY.” You (obviously) don’t have to find it funny. But it’s a parody of a movie; not a message of violence. Not just a bunch of girls beating each other up for no reason. It’s making fun of a pretty anti-feminist manfilm and it’s not like it’s a girl version of bumfights or something.

    tinfoil hattie: Megan:Um … enough with the stupid consdescension?I know it’s a parody.That it is a parody does not thereby require me to find it funny.I do not think there is humor in beating people up.I do not think it’s funny to “parody” the idea that freedom from oppression involves beating one another up.I repeat:Not my kind of humor.  

  39. Jesurgislac
    Jesurgislac August 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

    Megan, I’m just curious: what is it about tinfoil hattie’s comments that led you to believe she wasn’t already aware this is a parody? It was mentioned in multiple comments prior to her critique.

    Further, parody is a literary concept – a sarcastic form of homage: no part of the definition of parody exempts it from criticism, whether from the basic “I just didn’t find it funny” (just because someone’s intended that we should be amused, doesn’t mean we will be) to the practical: “what message does this parody convey”?

    The form of the trailer of an unmade movie allows the viewer freedom to create the movie of the trailer in our mind: the movie we think this trailer implies may not be the movie the makers of the trailer had in mind. (Indeed, each of the makers of the trailer could have had a different movie in mind: the format is so open, I can see how that could be possible.)

    We can take a feminist interpretation of the trailer, see women who were told they were helpless and weak learning how to get physical, learning confidence in their own muscles, learning they are powerful.

    But that’s not the only possible interpretation of this trailer, and it’s rather foolish of you to deny tinfoil hattie’s take on it with the repeated, unthinking answer “but it’s a PARODY”.

  40. Nikki
    Nikki August 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm |

    Jesurgislac: Further, parody is a literary concept – a sarcastic form of homage: no part of the definition of parody exempts it from criticism, whether from the basic “I just didn’t find it funny” (just because someone’s intended that we should be amused, doesn’t mean we will be) to the practical: “what message does this parody convey”?

    I agree. Just because material is parodic doesn’t mean it has no impact or shouldn’t be considered critically. If someone sees this video as a “message of violence,” then that’s a valid viewpoint. If someone else sees it as a hilarious shot at Fight Club and/or hypermasculinity, that’s just as valid. There’s no wrong way to interpret art, and all art is open for interpretation.

  41. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie August 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm |

    Megan: Yes, because stupid “consdescension” is what I was going for. And pot, meet kettle?The point was not to say, “HEY WHY DON’T YOU FIND THIS FUNNY.” You (obviously) don’t have to find it funny. But it’s a parody of a movie; not a message of violence. Not just a bunch of girls beating each other up for no reason. It’s making fun of a pretty anti-feminist manfilm and it’s not like it’s a girl version of bumfights or something.  (Quote this comment?)

    Um, I was parodying your comment?

    AND I DON’T THINK IT’S FUNNY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH ME. I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU.

  42. Heather Aurelia
    Heather Aurelia August 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm |

    I have actually winced a couple of times, but I really think it’s funny because in Fight Club men beat each other up for reasons that this Jane Austen’s Fight Club has indicated. I mean why can’t women enjoy violence, by the way, I am borrowing your transcript!!!! This is so kick ass.

  43. One of the many awesome things that I find on the Feminist Blogosphere « Witchy Feminist

    […] Transcript from Chally over at Feministe. […]

  44. link hodgepodge « Clare Forstie
    link hodgepodge « Clare Forstie August 9, 2010 at 10:25 am |

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