Borovnia & The Fourth World

3.1.12 The "Fourth World."

Who first mentioned the "Fourth World?"

[jp] The "Fourth World" was first mentioned by Juliet in the scene at the Ilam shrine. Pauline commented: "But we're all going to Heaven!"--sorry, I mean "Hihvin." [This is a reference to many real-life statements by Pauline and Juliet too numerous to list. e.g. see Medlicott's article 7.8.1. [jp]

Juliet said she wasn't--she was going to the Fourth World (see 3.2.7).

What was the Fourth World?

[jp] Juliet said it was a place for "Music, Art and pure enjoyment." Mario would be there, and James, only they would be Saints. Later, both girls had visions of the "Fourth World" and it came to intrude on their perceptions of the real world, as well.

Was the "Fourth World" another name for "Heaven?"

[jp] Most definitely not. Juliet said The "Fourth World" was "better than Heaven because there weren't any Christians."

Who discovered the "Fourth World" and when?

[jp] Juliet was the first to see the "Fourth World," at Port Levy during Easter holidays with the Hulmes. Pauline was confused at first, until Juliet stood tall against the sky, took a deep breath and, in a sure voice, full of knowing anticipation, said: "Come with me!" (an important moment in "Heavenly Creatures.").

Both Juliet and Pauline went on to have a realistic, sensual vision of the "Fourth World." Interestingly, in real life, the vision occurred on Good Friday, 1953, the day commemorating Christ's trials, doubt, crucifiction, suffering and death, and not on Easter Sunday, the day commemorating his resurrection from the dead. "Heavenly Creatures" says the vision was apparently triggered by Juliet's intense depression, brought about because her parents planned to leave her behind in New Zealand when they went on a trip to England.

Who could 'look in to' the "Fourth World" and when?

[jp] Pauline stated in her diary entry that "only about ten people" had the ability, the 'key,' to look into the "Fourth World," and that this could only occur on well-defined occasions, twice a year, when a gateway opened up through the clouds. The bright light of the gateway was like a brilliant six-pointed star--very similar to the star in the CGHS crest that was shown in the very first shot of "Heavenly Creatures," after the title.

Both Pauline and Juliet had this ability to 'look in to' the "Fourth World," because of an extra part of their brain, and that made them rare and special, and brilliant and it set them far apart from ordinary people.

'Looking in to' the "Fourth World" was apparently a different phenomenon, in the girls' eyes, from simply imagining the "Fourth World."

What was the "Fourth World" like?

[jp] In the girls' visions of the "Fourth World," it appeared to be like a lush, over-ripe, beautiful, sunny garden. There were manicured lawns, fountains and pools, marble statues, flowers in vibrant bloom, birds, giant butterflies and mythical beasts, like unicorns, tame and docile. In short, it looked a lot like the gardens and grounds of Ilam, the Hulme's residence.

The "Saints" were supposed to live there, but they were never shown in the girls' visions of the "Fourth World."

Was "Borovnia" part of the "Fourth World?"

[jp] This wasn't specified clearly in "Heavenly Creatures." At first, the two concepts seemed to be quite separate. The girls had visions of Borovnia independent of their visions of the "Fourth World," and the characters, objects and tone of the two places appeared to be quite distinct. Specifically, Borovnia was shown to be a lusty, bawdy, violent place while the "Fourth World" was peaceful and pastoral; Pauline described it as being full of peace and bliss. Later in the film, it seemed as if Borovnia may have existed as a kingdom in the "Fourth World," judging from images of the countryside seen outside Borovnia in some of the visions.

The "Saints" were said to exist in the "Fourth World." Some of the Borovnian characters had the features of the Saints and, of course, Mario Lanza was himself and he was supposed to live in the "Fourth World."

Who were the Saints?

[jp,lfr,sb] Juliet initially identified four Saints:

Mario (Lanza)..........................."HE"
James Mason............................"HIM"
Mel Ferrar............................"THIS"
Suie Bjuling (IDd from script)........"THAT" (I reckon this could be Jussi Bjoerling, the tenor, very popular in the 1950s). [sb,lfr]

Pauline commented "Oh, I wish James Mason would do a religious picture. He'd be perfect as Jesus." Then proposed:

Orson Welles............................"IT"

...but Juliet vetoed this, saying: "Certainly not! Oooh! Orson Welles--the most hideous man alive!" and she cast his picture to the water. Later, after the girls see "The Third Man," they don't change their opinions about his looks, but they both admit they "adore him," and "IT" is elevated to full sainthood.

3.1.13 "Borovnia."

What was "Borovnia?"

[jp] Borovnia was an imaginary kingdom invented by Pauline and Juliet in elaborate fantasies. They wrote extensively about Borovnia and peopled it with a large cast of characters, both noble and commoner. Pauline said to John-the-boarder that the family tree "was all worked out" for many generations. From time to time, the girls would assume the identities of the characters in real life, or would imagine themselves to be the characters in their visions of Borovnia. Borovnia was a violent, fun place full of action, romance and intrigue. See for more on the character of Borovnia.

Are there parallels with other imaginary kingdoms?

[sb,lfr] The young Brontes had imaginary kingdoms of this kind. A good read on the subject is Daphne du Maurier's "The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte." Apparently the Brontes' fantasy world occupied the sisters for seven years, and was also incredible and quite violent (according to Jay Martin, Ph.D. in a lecture "Movies, Murders, Magic, Obsession and Oppression" given at S. Cal. Psychoanalytical Institute April 20, 1995).

What are the filmmakers' comments about "Borovnia?"

Jackson: Pauline and Juliet "used [it] an outlet for violent fantasies. Their stories about Borovnia became increasingly violent and bloodthirsty."

Why were the characters in Borovnia made of plasticine?

Jackson had initially imagined using actors dressed in medieval clothes. Then he heard of real plasticine models made by Juliet and seen by visitors to Ilam in the 50s and thought: "What a fascinating idea. Why don't we have Pauline and Juliet entering into a world populated by Plasticine figures rather than actors wearing costumes." (see 3.1.10 concerning plasticine figures in real life.)

When and why did the girls have Borovnian visions?

[jp] Although Borovnia started out as a literary exercise for the girls' imaginations, both of them came to have more frequent visions of themselves in Borovnia or of Borovnian characters in their real lives.

Both Pauline and Juliet were shown to use Borovnian visions as an escape from unpleasant realities. As "Heavenly Creatures" progresses through a series of upsetting and traumatic events, the girls blur the distinction between the real world and fantasy, usually through Borovnian visions that help them deal with their problems.

Who had the first 'vision' of Borovnia?

[jp] The first explicit vision of Borovnia was held by Juliet when she was confronted by Rev Norris in the sanatarium. Diello came to Juliet's rescue and carted off the annoying clergyman, bad teeth and all, to his beheading.

Who first imagined herself actually in Borovnia?

[jp] Pauline awoke outside the gates of Borvnia in the second 'Borovnia' vision, as if from a dream, during her night with John(Nicholas). She smiled, as if she were home. See for more on this scene.

Who imagined the death of Nicholas in Borovnia?

[jp] That's not clear. Nicholas was dispatched by Diello in the third Borovnian vision, but we see both girls immediately after this vision, and they smile knowingly at each other. Maybe this was telepathy (see diary entries).

Did Juliet ever imagine herself entering Borovnia?

[jp] Yes. Juliet's first voluntary crossing over to Borovnia, as Deborah, was at the beginning of "The Loveliest Night of the Year" scene, when the Ilam parlour dissolved into Borovnia. Mario became human in this vision. So did Dr Hulme, the Fool.

Did anyone cross over completely?

[jp] Yes. The film implies that Pauline crossed over completely to the fantasy kingdom during "The Loveliest Night of the Year" when Diello carried her away from Ilam to Borovnia. When we see her in Borovnia, Pauline has become a plasticine Gina, her transformation complete. This final, all-important Borovnian scene would have been "The Rape of Gina" in archaic terms.

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