Tag Archives: movies

CINEMA E PINTURA

6 maio

Neste 8 de maio celebra-se o Dia do Artística Plástico e a proximidade da data me fez pensar na relação entre o cinema e a pintura, duas artes tão profundamente ligadas, até porque o cinema, entre outras coisas, também é plástico.

Tanto é assim que quando, em 1927, o som chegou às telas dos cinemas, houve reclamações: ele, o som, estimulava a vocação narrativa da sétima arte, constituindo-se numa quebra da autonomia da imagem. Dois “reclamantes” famosos, como se sabe, foram Charles Chaplin e o nosso Vinicius de Moraes.

De fato, alguns dos filmes mudos, mesmo quando contavam estórias, como o “Aurora” de Murnau (1927), ou o “Metropolis” de Fritz Lang (1927), comungavam com a plasticidade da pintura. Agora, com o advento do som, toda a ênfase passava a ser posta no desenvolvimento do enredo. Sem coincidência as duas primeiras décadas da era de ouro do cinema clássico – anos 30 e 40 – fizeram, mais ou menos, vista grossa ao parentesco entre a pintura e o cinema.

Um quadro constante em Ford: o Monument Valley

Claro que houve as exceções, se você pensar em cineastas “plásticos” como William Wyler, George Steves, e sobretudo, John Ford. Como não lembrar as panorâmicas de Ford na paisagem do Velho Oeste americano, especialmente aquelas tão recorrentes do deslumbrante “Monument Valley”? Se você porventura não esqueceu o preto-e-branco do belíssimo “O mensageiro do diabo” (Charles Laughton, 1955), deve recordar como suas paisagens, em certos planos especiais, recriam pinturas do Impressionismo francês.

Um dos primeiros filmes americanos a tratar diretamente o tema da pintura acho que foi “O retrato de Dorian Gray”, 1945, de Albert Lewin, com o ator Hurd Hatfield no duplo papel-título. Sem coincidência, o filme levou o Oscar de melhor fotografia, trabalho especial de Harry Stradling. No mesmo ano, Fritz Lang rodou “Almas perversas” (“Scarlet Street”, 1945), só que aqui o pintor é um amador que vende seus quadros com assinatura alheia. Em 1948 William Dieterle lançaria o seu “Retrato de Jennie” (“Portrait of Jennie”), com Joseph Cotten como um pintor em crise que, ao meio da Depressão americana, procura uma musa – e a encontra, em pleno Central Park, na figura do título, desempenho de Jennifer Jones.

O ator Kirk Douglas como Van Gogh em “Sede de viver”

Até aqui os pintores eram fictícios. Nos dez filmes que, em ordem cronológica, cito em seguida, os pintores são criaturas do nosso mundo, que deixaram obras para a posteridade. Na impossibilidade de discutir mais extensivamente estes filmes, acrescento apenas rápidas notas informativas para cada caso. O número de filmes sobre pintura e pintores é, atualmente, bem maior que a minha lista e assumo a responsabilidade das escolhas:

MOULIN ROUGE (John Huston, 1952), com José Ferrer no papel do pintor Toulouse-Lautrec, vivenciando as delícias e os tormentos da Belle Époque.

SEDE DE VIVER (Lust for life, 1955, Vincente Minnelli) com Kirk Douglas e Anthony Quinn como, respectivamente, o convulso Van Gogh e o amigo fiel Gauguin.

O MISTÉRIO DE PICASSO (Le mistère de Picasso, 1956, H. G. Clouzot) com Picasso, ele mesmo, pintando em transparência e sendo filmado no ato.

AGONIA E ÊXTASE (The agony and the ecstasy, 1965, Carol Reed) com Charlston Heston na carne de Michelangelo, em voltas com o Papa da época para a pintura da Capela Sistina.

VERDADES E MENTIRAS (F for fake, 1973, Orson Welles) com o falsário Elmyr de Hory, nesse documentário irônico sobre quadros originais e imitações.

MEU PÉ ESQUERDO (My left foot, 1989, Jim Sheridan) com Daniel Day-Lewis como o deficiente irlandês Christy Brown e seus genais quadros pintados com um dos pés.

FRIDA (2002, Julie Taymor) com Salma Hayck, fazendo a sofrida pintora mexicana, sua saúde precária e sua luta com o companheiro Diego Rivera.

MOÇA COM BRINCO DE PÉROLA (Girl with a pearl earring, 2003, Peter Webber) com Colin Firth no papel de Vermeer, e Scarlett Johansson no da fictícia empregada doméstica Britt, que teria sido a modelo do quadro famoso.

SOMBRAS DE GOYA (Goya´s ghosts, 2006, Milos Forman) com Stellan Skarsgard desempenhando Francisco Goya, ao tempo em que foi réu da Inquisição espanhola, por causa da amante Inês.

COM AMOR, VAN GOGH (Loving Vincent, 2017, Dorota Kobiola e Hugh Welchman), uma fase da vida do pintor holandês em forma de poético cartoon.

 

“Moça com brinco de pérola” – quando um quadro gera um filme

In the fountain, with Anita

20 jan

Besides Fellini´s “La Dolce Vita” (1960), what other Anita Ekberg movies have you seen?

I asked friends and none had seen any. Some cinephiles were able to mention “Intervista” (Fellini, 1987) where, anyway, the recently deceased Swedish actress appears as herself, old and fat, with nothing of her once astounding beauty.

And, however, Anita is one of the most worshipped divas of the cinema.

6

The truth is: to be a diva a single role may be enough.

And hers was that one, I mean, the big tits and hoarse voice sensual Sylvia, the gorgeous blonde who invites Marcello into the waters of the Fontana di Trevi, in Fellini´s 1960 masterpiece.

One funny thing was, some of my friends confessed not even “La dolce vita” they had seen, and, nonetheless, (they could not explain why), they seemed to remember the Roman fountain scene.

Actually, the fact can be explained. The cinema, or rather, cinephilia, is not necessarily made of entire movies, but also of single images or scenes that sometimes impose themselves as recurring intertexts. That which elsewhere I once called “beloved images”.

For instance, recently two movies showed the Fontana di Trevi scene, by the way, not just showed, but made it the core of their fictional universe. They both told the romantic adventure of this old lady who dreams of meeting her perfect valentine and with him travel to Rome, just to recreate the emblematic fountain scene – if possible, including the little white cat and the glass of milk which is served to it.

An Argentina production of 2005, the first movie is the original one; a Hollywood production of 2014, the second one is its remake, both with the same plot and title, although not with the same artistic quality: “Elsa & Fred”.

Not to mention that, a couple of decades ago, in “Intervista”, the very same scene had been (re)exhibited, when a real Mascello Mastroiani, along with the whole film stuff, visits Anita´s farm house, and there, in the sitting room, with a fellinian magic power, reproduces the Fontana di Trevi scene, on a white sheet used as screen.

Anita and Mastroiani in Fellini´s masterpiece.

Anita and Mastroiani in Fellini´s masterpiece.

The fact that moviegoers do not recall other Anita Ekberg movies is understandable.

Although she was in 63 movies, very few, besides “La dolce vita”, are worth mentioning, “War and peace” (king Vidor, 1956), where she has a supporting role, is almost an exception.

I myself could only remember her in “Boccacio 70”, a film in four episodes, and in that also episodical bittersweet comedy by Vittorio DeSica, “Seven times woman” (1970), in which, anyway, the repeated woman is not herself, but Shirley MacLaine.

Only in checking over her filmography could I identify some of the her movies I had seen in the past: two comedies by Frank Tashlin, with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, “Artists and models (1955) and “Hollywood or bust” (1956), and the film she was making when Fellini found her in Italy: “Sheba and the gladiator” (1959), you know, one of those void Italian epics which were so often produced at that time, leading nowhere…

But, who cares? Anita Ekberg is the eternal diva whom we shall forever worship.

In the fountain, with Anita.

In the fountain, with Anita.

Tears in the dark

7 maio

People somtimes ask me if, when I am about to see a picture, I promptly take on that distant and cold attitude of a professional critic who observes, analyses and judges.

My answer always surprises those who ask me: when I am at the movie-house – or at home, playing the DVD set – I take off completely my “critic´s uniform” and surrender to the movie, body and soul, for whatever comes up. And what comes up may be any human reactions, including those too human.

Only later, as the English poet says, “recollected in tranquility”, I mentally recall the movie and, if by any chance, it was worthwhile, I do concentrate to analyze and evaluate.

I did not mention, above, the list of reactions I may have to a movie, but, I do feel the moral obligation of saying that those are the same that occur to the most naïve and unable spectator.

One of them, for instance, is crying. Yes, some movies make me cry, so much that the tears flurry, not only my vision, but also my supposed ability to discern.

Fellini´s "Nights of Cabiria": a tear and a smile in the final scene.

Fellini´s “Nights of Cabiria”: a tear and a smile in the final scene.

If you want an example, I could never watch the final scene in “Nights of Cabiria” (Fellini, 1957) without pouring tears, and even now that I recall it to write about, I do feel like crying.

I think Fellini was pretty mean to conceive that kind of denouement; mean to Cabiria and mean to the viewer. The poor woman had suffered blows after blows, and this final scene is totally unbearable. It should have been the sublime moment when, despite the blows, she had come to believe in love again, and, however, her “charming prince” proves to be a thief who, in the dark forest, near the abyss verge, runs away with her belongings. Next morning, when Cabiria meets those gay young people who play, sing and dance around her, she still can show a smile, but…

In Frank Capra´s “It´s a wonderful life” (1946) George Baily is a householder who, a Christmas Eve, can see no way out of his debts except committing suicide. As he tries it, someone else enters the scenery and the whole story takes an unexpected and strange course. Bewitched by the angel Clarence, George looks for his relatives all over town and can not find any: in this unfamiliar, gloomy new world, his wife, Mary, had become a neurotic spinster, his mother is the owner of a whorehouse, and his brother is just a name in a tomb… In a moment of total despair, not knowing what to do or where else to go, he runs towards the screen (yes, towards us) as if to ask for help. This moment chokes me and…

Un unifamiliar, gloomy new world for George Baily: Capra´s "It´s a wonderful life"

An unifamiliar, gloomy new world for George Baily: Capra´s “It´s a wonderful life”

In David Lean´s “Brief encounter” (1945) Laura is a simple housewife, with two kids, a mind-limited husband and an unimaginative life ahead. Every Thursday she takes the train to a neighboring town, where she finally meets this also married doctor who… The scene in which this woman in love is forced by circumstances to return back to the husband she does not love, and, sitting at the sitting room, after recalling a whole love story, hears the husband thank her for getting out of this “nightmare” and come back to his arms: all this under Rachmaninoff´s sound track…

I never wrote critical essays on these movies, and if I ever did, I was not at all satisfied with the results. My emotional reaction inevitably interferes with the analysis and, after all, I would rather leave them untouched. By the way, I do not even see these three movies very often, for, in my religion of cinephile, they are sacred icons for whom a constant visitation might sound like profanity.

Back into an unimaginative domestic life: David Lean´s "Brief encounter"

Back into an unimaginative domestic life: David Lean´s “Brief encounter”

Actually I should say very few movies make me cry, and the ones who do are all old movies, from the first half of the twentieth century. Modern cinema never pulled out a tear from my eyes, I wonder whether the problem is mine or its. I do not even know if it is a problem.

The crying effect is connected to a special genre, the melodrama, a genre that lost prestige with the coming of modernity.

I do not know how far the three movies I mentioned may be called melodramas, but, there is one thing I know: they are too big to fit any genre.