Rick’s Journal — MY FILM CAREER
I have just been reading again the report in the New York Times of the death of Poland’s film directing giant Andrzej Wajda on 10/9/16.
Reading of his early films took me back to campus days at UCLA. It was a privilege to be there when Colin Young was not only teaching in the film school (Theater Arts Department) but helping establish the U of C Press’ Film Quarterly while writing for it, and bringing exciting cinema to the UCLA community, including the first work of the late, great Andrzej Wayda.
Readers may want to read the full-page coverage (with photographs) of Wajda’s life, death and career in the New York Times for 10/11/16 (by Michael T. Kaufman, p. B12).
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CLOSE-UPS OF SOME VERY SPECIAL FILMS
Ian Christie and Andrew Moor have collected a useful and compelling group of essays, including some of their own, called The Cinema of Michael Powell. The compilation contains several pieces on productions of the Archers, those films written, produced and directed by Powell in association with Emeric Pressburger (e.g., to name some, I Know Where I’m Going, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, Gone to Earth, and, of course, Peeping Tom). The book is academic in style and theoretical in aesthetics but rich in interpretation and insight. Two especially interesting essays are one by Robert Shail on masculinity and masculine roles in the war films of P & P and another by Natacha Thiéry on sexuality and death of Powell’s female characters.
The various essays amply address the photography and color so significant in the P & P films, along with the production design and designer Hein Heckroth.
An excellent index allows the reader to find an individual film title in any and all of the collected essays.
Two examples of provocative commentary:
Christie in his introduction to the volume describes Gone to Earth as “flooded with a Celtic mysticism spilling from Shropshire into Wales…” Jean-Louis Leutrat on Black Narcissus: “Although some commentators…have seen in the film a confrontation between two conflicting religions, I, on the contrary, see in the characters’ status [they’re nuns] no more than the pretext for a radical experiencing of desire…Faith is not the subject of the film, and it is only ultimately significant inasmuch as it presupposes and demands consent to a refusal of femininity.” (“The Invisible and the ‘Intruder Figure’: Perfume in Black Narcissus.”)
Christie is Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Moor teaches Film Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.
NEXT FRIDAY POST November 25
Get out and go to the movies,
See you there,