‘Acting Naturally Review: Finding A Mirror At The Movies

‘Acting Naturally Review: Finding A Mirror At The Movies

David Thompson loves movies, and it's not strange, most of us love movies, but he loves actors more than movies. Not exactly the likable cast, but all the cast, even the wooden, dark, inevitably forgotten cast. He only sees typical, slightly embellished versions of all of us. The premise of natural representation is reflected in the last few sentences of the book. "It's not like life. If we can handle it normally so our friends don't panic, he'll be alive."

The idea of ​​being alive necessarily means being an actor is not new, but Mr. Thompson deals with it heavily in forensics, using choices that are more subtle and clear. It does not equate to cheating. "Please don't say you're just yourself. You're so much more versatile than that. You're the crowd. You're an actor who plays your part and deserves a round of applause. Sometimes, just by walking into a room, you can destroy the whole house."'But there's a big difference between amateurs and professionals.' , between the images of light that we look at in the dark, because we "have no text. We have to take it on the road."

The great German critic and thinker Walter Benjamin set out to write a book consisting only of quotations. David Thompson is such a wonderful writer, energetic and genial, thoughtful and funny, witty and down-to-earth, that this review, as is already evident, can only be a collection of his elegant and incisive sentences and aphorisms. We won't go that far, but be prepared for the writer to have a lot to say with his words.

The book opens with a brief display of "proper gratitude" to his father, a version of the kind but distant Mr. Thompson he sometimes played in the Phantom. He brings four-year-old David on stage to meet the cast and show "how good they are on stage and how normal they are in real life". Although he was too young to realize this, this theatrical visit could be "a clue or cautionary tale" for him. He notes that "the professional game" is usually seen as pejorative, "but it's unfair to the way most of us play every day. Constant performance. Lovers are lovers." Mr. Thompson's life could be and is. – an act of dedication.

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As a child, visiting a Christmas pantomime, he believed in the characters, but knew before they were put on stage that the actors were real people; There they were, moving, talking, their breath slashing the air, their heels clicking. Paintings "I smell what my dad told me was greasy." They even took the little boy to the cinema, where "I couldn't understand how you could see so many important people." He was correct in his belief that a screen is a window and that the characters act behind it.

But how could those crystal ghosts move so easily and remain silent except when they spoke? How could they be now in the middle distance, and now suddenly, instantly, close? “The people in that window were so strong and beautiful that they could do whatever they wanted, and I loved that, too. I wanted to be there so I could be with them. I still do.”

The people featured here range from Carey Mulligan, whom Thompson cites as a star of the 21st century for her "strange combination of glamor and restraint," to enduring icons like Louise Brooks, James Dean, Meryl Streep, and of course, Brando. . But Mr. Thompson also has time for several lesser-known supporting actors.

In his loving analysis of Jean Renoir's The Law of the Game, published in 1939, when all the rules of the game were about to be changed, Mr. Thompson delights in performances for players neither he nor I have ever heard of. Or Forgotten: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Roland Totin, Milla Barelli and others . This living encyclopedia of cinema follows Dalio's brilliant career in Hollywood. With hundreds of dealership roles, Mr. Thompson describes Dalio as a no-name collections agent who is "just part of the moving furniture" in Casablanca.

The cast of La Règle is unknown, although it was directed by Auguste Renoir's son, it is one of the greatest films ever made, it made the bittersweet tragicomedy all the more bitter because it was made in 1939. It was a disaster. Behind the main characters "there is of course another circle, servants or people serving the inner circle," that is, minor actors.

Why do we like so many star-studded musicians, Mr. Thompson wonders, as if they were more normal or like us? Most of us are little players, not even little gods overshadowed by the brilliance of the great gods, but mere mortals. This is our situation. We sit in front of the screen, amazed by the stars, watching what happens on Mount Olympus and trying to hold on to the shattered pieces of identity. “The world may not know you, but you are fighting to be in the spotlight. Can you reconcile your timeless close-up with your chaotic reality among dozens or hundreds of supporting players?”

In Mr. Thompson, the brilliant director has lost his way, or at least has lost his way. Not the least of what this book has to offer are the imaginative versions it offers us; Submit Thompson Pictures! To my joy and surprise. Perhaps the best chapter here is "Marlon and Merrill " – the name is already a provocation. Mr. Thompson is completely smitten with Brando, though he acknowledges the actor's laziness, insecurities, and refusal to take himself seriously enough. He laughed at acting and talked about it as a license to lie and deceive celebrities. That's all true, but here after playing an old-fashioned hero in The Godfather, he turns up seven months later as the handsome Paul Paris in Last Tango, "helping us appreciate the hidden trick." The actor got a job for Vito Corleone.

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Mr. Thompson takes Last Tango as a villain and instead spotlights this Parisian apartment between Brando and 23-year-old Meryl Streep. "Can't you hear these two talking?" Likes to present seemingly impossible coincidences. "I'm looking forward to Stanley Tucci as Mrs. Bracknell," and in her alternative Last Tango, she lets her wild imagination run wild. Brando and Miss Streep could play and play and play and play; "They can pretend they're tigers together, or Laurel and Hardy trying to lift the piano."

Imagine such danger, such wealth. It might have been possible in 1972 when the last Tango was made, but today? "The men and women of the screen are increasingly alienated from each other by frustration or hostility and rampant ignorance." Mr. Thompson's sumptuous review of this flawed but important film and many others is a small but poignant antidote to the waning screen time.

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