jeudi 22 mars 2012


A woman risks losing her chance of happiness with the only man she has ever loved.
It’s well-known that Ernst Lubitsch had an autocratic way with actors, modelling gestures for them in order to get the precise timing and physical articulation of emotions. An interesting approach to cinema, almost singular, and it’s certain that it grew out of Lubitsch’s experience as a theatrically trained actor (it’s an approach that I associate almost exclusively with vaudeville-based “actor/auteurs” from the early sound era, who either took over the movie, like Fields, or mesmerized their directors through sheer magnetism, like Cagney or Grant). Most great filmmakers articulate emotions differently: through rhythm (Ozu, Bresson), the unfolding of time (Tarkovsky, Mizoguchi), or through the dynamic possibilities of cutting from one image to another (Hitchcock, Powell, Scorsese). But in a few rare cases, the filmmaker relishes the spontaneity of the actor and through sheer force of will harnesses it to a grand conception. Call this the “Shakespearean” approach to cinema, in which the finished product is a giddily fantastic array of gorgeous behaviors that feel varied enough to fill a whole universe, but that still manage to operate within a singular conception. Cassavetes is the obvious example. I would also add Maurice Pialat and Arnaud Desplechin to this lofty category.

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