Friday, July 25, 2014

Michael Lonsdale Day





'Michael Lonsdale has made over 140 films with some of the greatest directors of our time, but the British-born, Paris-based actor is hardly what you'd call a high-profile movie star, choosing to take on character-driven roles rather than star parts in popcorn Hollywood hits. His presence on screen may sometimes be brief, yet it is unforgettable. With his 6-foot-1-inch frame, shuffling gait and rich, powerful voice, he exudes an imposing, magisterial aura, shaded with inscrutable mystery and a touch of ironic malice.

'At 79 years old, Mr. Lonsdale has played the gamut of religious roles —priests, abbots, cardinals, inquisitors—as well as countless aristocrats ranging from English lords to Louis XVI. Also a man of the theater, his circle of friends has included literary heavyweights like Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, whose works he performed on stage in Paris in the 1960s. Perfectly bilingual, he moves easily between the bizarre shoe salesman in François Truffaut's Stolen Kisses and the campy bearded villain in the James Bond classic, Moonraker.

'When the actor moved to Paris in 1947, he began to study painting, but soon decided to take classes at Tania Balachova's acting school ("to overcome my shyness," he says). Mr. Lonsdale's first theatrical appearance in Paris was at age 24, and he hasn't stopped performing since. One of his most outstanding memories, he says, was working with Orson Welles in The Trial (1962), in which he had a brief role as a pastor. "We only shot for one night, but he must have done 20 takes for my scene. Welles was incredibly nice, and every few minutes, he'd keep asking me: 'Are you happy, Mr. Lonsdale?' Of course, I was thrilled." Another turning point was his role in Duras's experimental film India Song in 1974, where he plays the enigmatic tortured vice-consul, whose eerie howling rings out in the night. "It's still my most favorite role," the actor states. "It helped me exorcise the suffering I was going through at the time in my personal life."

'Although Hollywood continues to try to entice the actor with various scripts (Of Gods and Men was nominated for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category), Mr. Lonsdale is unequivocal. "My life is in Europe," he says. "I try to devote my life to a kind of cinema that is more than entertainment." The actor is currently shooting in Puglia, Italy, with director Ermanno Olmi for his coming role ("another priest!" he sighs) in a poetical saga called Il villaggio di cartone.

'These days, Of Gods and Men has boosted the actor's celebrity, but fame is about the last thing on his mind. "Michael is very humble and has a way of making you feel his love for humanity," says Mr. Comar, the producer. "He works with whomever he pleases and doesn't care whether they're well-known or not." -- collaged



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Further

Michael Lonsdale @ IMDb
'Michael Lonsdale, un homme et un Dieu'
Michael Lonsdale # france culture
'Michael Lonsdale : “Avec Buñuel, j'ai vécu des moments délicieux”'
'Michael Lonsdale: "La foi m'a retourné"'
'Comédien des avant-gardes (Duras, Rivette, Eustache…), revenu au grand public avec Le Mystère de la chambre jaune, Michael Lonsdale s’amuse et se ravit de l’intérêt que lui portent aujourd’hui des cinéastes qui ont la moitié de son âge.'
'Michael Lonsdale, la vie est bure'
'Des hommes et des dieux - La confession de (Frère) Michael Lonsdale'
Brandon's movie memory: Michael Lonsdale'
'Michael Lonsdale - L'acteur qui joua Dieu et le diable'




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Extras


Michael Lonsdale profile & interview


Michael LONSDALE & Titi Robin : "Je parle avec Dieu"


Interview Michael Lonsdale 2009


Zarathoustra - Friedrich Nietzsche - Lecture : Michael Lonsdale



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Interview




Avant de jouer, je ne travaille pas les rôles, la façon dont je vais dire les phrases. Je n’en sais rien. Je suis de la famille des instinctifs. Comment cela ?

Michael Lonsdale : Absolument ! Je n’ose pas trop le dire parce que les gens vont croire que je ne suis pas sérieux… Mais voilà, le sens me vient quand je lis, et je m’ennuie beaucoup pendant les répétitions parce que j’ai envie de jouer tout de suite. Le cinéma, c’est un art de l’instant. Je n’ai pas besoin de préparer, rien. Sauf quand le metteur en scène me demande une chose plutôt qu’une autre, alors je me plie à ses volontés.

Votre professeur, Tania Balachova, inspirée par Stanislavski, vous demandait de "recomposer l’état intérieur du personnage » pour « trouver des motifs d’être heureux ou triste" .

ML: Oui, elle disait toujours qu’il ne faut pas jouer les mots, mais ce qu’il y a derrière. Sur Des hommes et des dieux [2010], j’ai improvisé plusieurs scènes, notamment avec la petite Algérienne, au début, quand elle me demande ce que c’est, l’amour. C’est venu comme ça. Ce rôle de Frère Luc, c’est celui d’un chrétien parfait, donné aux autres, sacrifié complètement : quarante ans d’infirmerie tous les jours de sept heures du matin jusqu’à parfois dix heures du soir. Et en plus il était asthmatique… je n’avais pas l’impression que c’était moi qui parlait, comme si c’était quelqu’un d’autre. Cette drôle d’alchimie m’est déjà arrivée quand j’ai joué le grand Russe, Saint-Séraphin de Sarov [1759-1833], voyant, prophète, dans Pomogui [Catherine Fantou-Gournay, 2007-08]. Luc, c’est un personnage universel. Il soignait même les terroristes…

Vous décrivez votre jeu comme "minimaliste", voire "très anglais".

ML: J’aime cette distanciation. Etre dedans sans y être… tout en étant. Ça vient naturellement, faut pas vous tracasser [il rit]. J’ai longtemps été assez maladroit et inquiet, sur les nerfs, mais ça a disparu, à partir de ma collaboration avec François Truffaut [La Mariée était en noir, 1967]. Dans Baisers volés [1968], je joue un personnage méprisant, insupportable, crétin. La scène de dîner avec Delphine Seyrig était écrite, mais pour celle à l’agence de détectives, il m’avait donné deux pages de texte. J’ai dit que je ne pouvais pas apprendre tout ça et il a répondu : "Ça fait rien, t’inquiète pas, improvise." "Il faut pour moitié aller au rôle, et pour moitié que le rôle vienne à vous. Si c’est le comédien qui l’emporte, ça ne va pas, et inversement." Si ça fait trop Lonsdale, ça ne va pas. Parfois, il y a des voix à modifier, mais… je dis ça comme ça, ce n’est pas une méthode précise. Ça dépend des partenaires aussi. Tahar Rahim, avec qui j’ai joué dans Les Hommes libres [Ismaël Ferroukhi, 2011], ne fait pas de chiqué : très simple, très vrai, très juste. C’est un très grand acteur.

Il y a une formule de vous que j’aime beaucoup : "On peut me reconnaître un certain goût pour l’informulé."

ML: Je laisse surgir une chose imprévue. Avec Bertrand Blier, ça s’était mal passé. Dans Les Acteurs [2000], il m’a refilé un rôle écrit pour Christian Clavier. Le deuxième jour, il m’a dit : "Ça manque de mystère." Mais moi, je ne fais du mystère que lorsqu’il y en a.

Quelle est la dernière chose en date que vous ayez apprise de votre jeu ?

ML: L’accent russe, quand j’ai joué Tourgueniev dans Le Chant des frênes, pendant deux mois, l’automne dernier. Un écrivain très complexe, très riche et très soucieux. J’ai pris l’accent avec des "r" roulés et des syllabes longues. "Booonjouuur", "Commeeeeennnt ça vaaaa ?", "Tu vaaas biiiien aujooouurrd’hui ?" [Petit rire malicieux] Tourgueniev, je le connais par cœur maintenant.

Les textes restent longtemps en mémoire ?

ML: J’oublie tout. Mais certains rôles demeurent : quand j’étudiais avec Tania Balachova, j’ai travaillé le merveilleux Trigorine de La Mouette de Tchekhov. Je l’ai joué quarante ans plus tard, je me souvenais de tout. Si je m’emmerde, j’oublie complètement. Des fois, je vois des vieux films et je me dis : "Mais qu’est-ce que je fais là-dedans ?", comme ceux de Gérard Oury [La Main chaude, 1959, L’Homme de l’avenue, 1961]. C’est avant Snobs ! de Jean-Pierre Mocky [1961], mon premier rôle important, magnifique : un monsieur qui prononce tous les "é" en "ai". Quel crétin aussi celui-là !

Votre rôle majeur, confiez-vous, c’est celui du vice-consul de France à Lahore dans India Song [1975], pour lequel Marguerite Duras vous demande de "parler faux".

ML: Oui, d’une voix étranglée. C’est difficile de parler faux.

Steven Spielberg, lui, dans Munich [2005], vous a repris sur la tonalité d’une phrase.

ML: Le héros [Eric Bana] est emmené à la campagne les yeux bandés, où il rencontre « Papa », homme de certain pouvoir. Je l’avais joué avec regret parce qu’il fait ça pour sauver son père très malade. Spielberg m’a dit : "Soyez impitoyable, il n’est pas de la famille." Sec, quoi.

Vous aimiez son travail ?

ML: Ah oui, Rencontre du troisième type [1977], c’est magnifique. J’étais mort de jalousie que François Truffaut ait été choisi dans le rôle du professeur Lacombe. A l’époque, ils avaient pensé à moi, puis ils ont pris Truffaut parce qu’il était plus connu. Mais pas très bon acteur ! [Il rit]

A quelle fréquence allez-vous au cinéma ?

ML: Des fois deux ou trois par semaine, des fois pas pendant un mois. Je vois aussi de vieux films à la télévision. C’est comme ça que j’ai découvert avec passion [le Hongrois] Béla Tarr, en zappant sur un plan très long de gens qui marchent dans la rue… je ne me souviens plus du titre… une histoire de « symphonie »… [Les Harmonies Werckmeister, 2000]. Il voulait que j’aille à Prague doubler un personnage, trois lignes, j’ai dit non, il est venu à Paris. J’étais un peu touché, on s’est pas mal promené à droite à gauche…

Sinon, vous avez trouvé Black Swan [Darren Aronovsky, 2011] "horrible" ?

ML: Horrible. Cette fille ambitieuse, cette mère épouvantable, ce metteur en scène odieux, oh là là… Et puis Natalie Portman, je l’ai connue sur Les Fantômes de Goya [Milos Forman, 2007], elle n’est pas sympathique du tout. Je disais bonjour en arrivant le matin, elle ne répondait même pas. Le film est raté, trop de misère. Forman voulait visiter l’Espagne, alors Jean-Claude Carrière [coscénariste] la lui a montrée, puis ils se sont dit en roulant que ça serait bien de tourner ici. Ce n’est pas une nécessité, ça. Il ne faut pas faire des choses pour se faire plaisir. Il faut que ça touche vraiment.

Et Moonraker [Lewis Gilbert, 1979], alors ? Le plaisir de jouer le méchant dans James Bond, ça ne compte pas ?

ML: C’est de la bande dessinée. On m’a dit : "Tu fais jamais de films commerciaux ", j’ai dit "bah je vais vous en faire un". 457 millions de spectateurs, c’est pas mal ! Je jouais ça à l’anglaise… avec ce géant de 2,18 m, Richard Kiel [Jaws], gentil comme tout. On est allé présenter le film à New York, trois mille invités, dont Frank Sinatra, tout le monde hurlait, sifflait, applaudissait…

Votre film préféré, c’est Ordet de Carl Theodor Dreyer [1955]. Pourquoi ?

ML: On y trouve une résurrection, ce que je n’avais jamais vu au cinéma. L’héroïne meurt en mettant son bébé au monde. Sa petite fille va trouver le fils un peu simplet, mystique, qui récite tout le temps les psaumes, en lui disant "Viens, tu vas ressusciter Maman." Il fait une courte prière, suspens terrible, plan fixe sur le visage qui ne bouge pas, timing merveilleux, on espère, on a peur, puis tout à coup elle ouvre les yeux… C’est le triomphe de l’enfance. Grand homme, Dreyer.

C’est aussi l’un des préférés de Nicolas Sarkozy….

ML: Ah ? Bah voilà ! Il s’est planté. Dans tous les journaux, tous les jours, il y avait quatre articles sur lui, non, non, non. Il n’y avait pas de retenue, pas de distance. Ça ne m’intéresse pas trop, mais il a déçu les gens, il avait tellement promis… J’ai bien peur que ce soit pareil avec le nouveau. La France est dans une situation pitoyable.



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19 of Michael Lonsdale's 144 films

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Orson Welles The Trial (1962)
'Bilingual in French and English from an early age, Lonsdale began appearing in French features and television productions as early as 1956. Billed frequently as Michel Lonsdale, he worked steadily if anonymously for the next half-decade before gaining his first international production with Orson Welles' The Trial (1962), based on the novel by Franz Kafka. Though debatable as an adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel, Orson Welles's nightmarish, labyrinthine comedy of 1962 remains his creepiest and most disturbing work; it's also a lot more influential than people usually admit.' -- collaged



the entire film



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René Clément Is Paris Burning? (1966)
'Is Paris Burning? stars Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford, Gert Fröbe, Orson Welles, Anthony Perkins, Robert Stack, Charles Boyer, Yves Montand, Michael Lonsdale, Leslie Caron, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Simone Signoret, and Alain Delon. The production was filmed in 180 sites. Claude Rich plays two parts: General Leclerc, with a moustache, and Lt Pierre de la Fouchardière, without a moustache. He is credited at the end only with the part of Leclerc. His role as the young lieutenant is not by chance: Claude Rich, as a teenager, was watching soldiers in the street when the real-life Pierre de la Fouchardière called him into a building to protect him. The film is almost entirely in black and white, presumably to better blend the documentary stock footage that is included in the film. The film was shot in black and white mainly because, although the French authorities would allow swastika flags to be displayed on public buildings for key shots, they would not permit those flags to be in their original red color; as a result, green swastika flags were used, which photographed adequately in black and white but would have been entirely the wrong color. However, the closing credits feature aerial shots of Paris in color. The entire film was shot on location in Paris.' -- collaged



Part 1


Part 2



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Francois Truffaut Stolen Kisses (1968)
'The Antoine Doinel of Stolen Kisses—the third of five screen incarnations—was almost a decade older than the movingly delinquent child who electrified audiences in The 400 Blows at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival as he ran for salvation across the French countryside to the sea in one continuous tracking shot. The scenario of Stolen Kisses (by Truffaut, Claude de Givray, and Bernard Revon) is a perpetual juggling act by which harsh truths are disguised as light jokes. The sheer horror and inanity of competing in the open market for a routine job is hilariously summed up in a straight-faced shoe-wrapping contest, the outcome of which, to add to life’s injustices, has been fixed in advance. Antoine’s other jobs—hotel night clerk, private detective, TV repairman—mark him as a disreputable drifter capable, like Truffaut and his breed of breakout artists, of sinking all the way to the bottom in order to rise to the top. Antoine will have learned and experienced so much of the human condition that he won’t be able to keep himself from becoming a real artist.' -- Andrew Sarris



Excerpt


Excerpt



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Marguerite Duras Destroy, She Said (1969)
'The movies made from Miss Duras's novels, even Hiroshima, Mon Amour, have in large measure depended upon an evocation of mood, a sense of dense and strange beauty foreign to the lucidity and simplicity of her own directorial decisions. She apparently means her film to portend revolution, holocaust, and rebirth (thus, the film's title), but she maintains her own sense of order and decorum to the end. It must take a good deal to sustain dialogue composed chiefly of non sequiturs. Miss Duras's cast manages it with style. I have reservations about Michel Lonsdale (the unlovable shoestore owner in Truffaut's Stolen Kisses), who brings too weighty a personality to the abstractions of his role, but the other actors suggest just enough meaning to maintain conversation without overloading it.' -- Roger Greenspun



Excerpt


Marguerite Duras on "Détruire dit-elle"



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Jacques Rivette Out 1 (1971)
'Rivette shot Out One in 16 mm in the last years of the 1960s, as France – disconcerted, wounded, exhilarated – was taking stock of what had happened to her during the months of May–June 1968. There was no “experimental filmmaking” as you had in the US at the time, and la Nouvelle Vague was working in 35 mm. The smaller format connoted reportage de télévision – as 16 mm cameras were the norm in the television industry. The events of May ‘68 had also prompted another Nouvelle Vague filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard, to experiment with formats: Ciné-Tracts (1968), Un Film comme les autres (1968), One American Movie (1968), British Sounds (1969) and the films of the Groupe Dziga Vertov (1969–71) are all shot in 16 mm (and, in 1975, with Numéro deux, Godard would start to explore video). The reference there was “militant cinema” as well as the American cinéma vérité and the British direct cinema – i.e. a certain form of “catching” and addressing the Real. For Rivette – interestingly enough since, in a recent interview, Rivette admits that he does not own a television – 16 mm was used as a specific reference to television, an off-the-beaten track position if any. In the 1960s and 1970s, the editorial board of Cahiers du cinéma was suspicious and contemptuous of the new medium.' -- Senses of Cinema



Out 1, Noli me Tangere - Ep 01


Excerpt



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Louis Malle Murmur of the Heart (1971)
'In Murmur of the Heart, Malle’s own zest connects with the knockabout wit and curiosity of his adolescent antiheroes. He sketches even the jokey supporting parts with a satiric sort of sympathy—like the youthful snob Hubert (François Werner), who thinks it’s classy and worldly to defend colonialism. From the fleshy warmth of Ricardo Aronovich’s cinematography to the jazz percolating in Laurent’s brainpan—and, thanks to Malle, in ours—the movie boasts the high spirits to match its high intelligence. Murmur of the Heart is the opposite of a problem comedy about incest. For one thing, incest is not a problem here. Incest is the trapdoor that swings up to reveal the turbulence beneath a cozy way of life—and, in doing so, betrays the growing appetite for candor of a towering twentieth-century artist.' -- Michael Sragow



the entire film



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Fred Zinnemann The Day of the Jackal (1973)
'The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 British-French thriller film directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Edward Fox and Michael Lonsdale. Based on the 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, the film is about a professional assassin known only as the "Jackal" who is hired to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle in the summer of 1963. The Day of the Jackal received positive reviews and went on to win the BAFTA Award for Best Film Editing (Ralph Kemplen), five additional BAFTA Award nominations, two Golden Globe Award nominations, and one Academy Award nomination.' -- collaged



Trailer


Excerpt



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Alain Robbe-Grillet Successive Slidings of Pleasure (1974)
'Trintignant, in trenchcoat and trilby, investigates a bondage slaying, grilling the heroine in the victim's bedroom which somehow contrives to be also a monastery cell, with trussed-up nuns languishing compliantly in the adjacent sanctum sanctorum. This is Robbe-Grillet amusing himself by scrambling together images and situations out of the overlapping conventions of the murder mystery and the S/M fantasy, taking care never to join the dots to form a coherent narrative and indeed ensuring that no such joining-up can possibly be achieved. This being Robbe-Grillet, none of the characters is permitted anything so crass as everyday sexual congress, though the numerous erotic tableaux should stir even the jaded or disinclined, thanks to the presence of Olga Georges-Picot, playing (but of course!) both victim and defence counsel. Amid all the sleight of hand, the most impressive feat is Trintignant's performance which manages to be simultaneously poker-faced and extravagantly comic.' -- Time Out (London)



the entire film



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Alain Resnais Stavisky (1974)
'The film began as a commission by Jean-Paul Belmondo to the screenwriter Jorge Semprún to develop a scenario about Stavisky. Resnais, who had previously worked with Semprún on La Guerre est finie, expressed his interest in the project (after a gap of six years since his previous film); he recalled seeing as a child the waxwork figure of Stavisky in the Musée Grevin, and immediately saw the potential of Belmondo to portray him as a mysterious, charming and elegant fraudster. Semprún described the film as "a fable upon the life of bourgeois society in its corruption, on the collaboration of money and power, of the police and crime, a fable in which Alexander's craziness, his cynicism, act as catalysts". Resnais said: "What attracted me to the character of Alexandre was his connection to the theatre, to show-business in general. Stavisky seemed to me like an incredible actor, the hero of a serial novel. He had the gift of bringing reality to his fantasies by means of regal gestures." (Among many theatrical references, the film features a scene in the theatre in which Alexandre rehearses a scene from Giraudoux's Intermezzo, and another in which he attends a performance of Coriolanus. His office is adorned with theatrical posters.)' -- collaged



Trailer


Excerpt



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Luis Buñuel The Phantom of Liberty (1974)
'As in The Milky Way and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty shifts attention not only from a central character to a minor one, who then becomes central, but also from one time period to another. The film opens in Toledo during the Napoleonic occupation, as a costume drama involving executions and drunken French soldiers desecrating a church, a statue that comes to life, an exhumation. As the story reaches its climax, we hear the voice of Muni, a plump, antic actress who appears in many Buñuel films, reading the story aloud and next see her sitting with a friend on a park bench in present-day Paris. What does it mean? Phantom of Liberty? Buñuel joked that the title was a collaboration between himself and Karl Marx. It also seems jejune to suggest interpretations, since Buñuel deflected all incitements to explain himself and insisted that nothing at all in his films was symbolic or had the significance people attached to his recurring motifs. He liked the appearance of a peculiar bird—I think it’s called an emu—so he put one in. When he cast two actresses in the role Maria Schneider had been fired from in That Obscure Object of Desire, Buñuel merely threw the idea out to Serge Silberman, his producer, as a joke. Silberman thought he was serious, that it was the perfect solution—and that’s what happened.' -- Gary Indiana



the entire film



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Costa-Gavras Special Section (1975)
'Unlike Z and L'Aveu, Section Speciale was not a big success when it was theatrically released. Z took place in Greece and L'Aveu behind the iron curtain. Section Spéciale takes place in France and it is no easy to clean your own backyard. Coming after Le Chagrin Et La Pitié and Lacombe Lucien which both showed the other side of the French attitude towards their occupying forces (till the seventies, most of the movies dealt with the French resistance from Le Père Tranquille to L'Armée Des Ombres), Costa-Gavras showed how the French used the law to commit injustice. And these French who sentenced their compatriots to death were not troubled after the Liberation (whereas others who did not kill anybody were). Main objection: "if we had not sacrificed these ones,a hundred of French people would have been shot..." Although Costa-Gavras made his movie accessible to everyone (story telling has always been his forte, even in his American career), he did not try to sweeten the screenplay with love affairs or melodrama (the past of one of the victims, played by Yves Robert, is almost treated with nonchalance and casualness). Although there is no superstar here (nobody like Yves Montand) most of the actors (particularly the great Michael Lonsdale), even in small parts, were widely known by the French audience of the seventies.' -- IMDb



Excerpt



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Joseph Losey Monsieur Klein (1976)
'Joseph Losey’s Monsieur Klein (Mr. Klein) is one of the exiled American director’s finest accomplishments. Shot in both Paris and Strasbourg between December 1975 and mid-February 1976, this existential thriller was the first of four films that Losey made in France while striving unsuccessfully to secure funding for Harold Pinter’s screenplay adaptation of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past, written by Pinter in 1972 but never filmed). When funding fell through on the Proust project, Losey inherited Franco Solinas and Fernando Morandi’s screenplay of Mr. Klein from Greek-born political filmmaker Costa-Gavras, who backed out of the project. Despite eventually winning three César Awards, as well as being selected as France’s Palme d’Or entry at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, Losey’s Mr. Klein was probably an unwise interim project if it was designed to help woo additional French financiers to the Proust adaptation. Not only was the film a box office disappointment, but also, echoing the audience reception of the similarly-themed thriller Le locataire (The Tenant, Roman Polanski, 1976), French audiences were unsettled by the film’s unflattering depiction of French anti-Semitism and xenophobia.' -- Christopher Weedman



Excerpt



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Peter Handke The Left-Handed Woman (1978)
'A train shatters the stillness of a Paris suburb, leaves a puddle on the station platform quivering with some unsolicited, mysterious, moving energy. This Romantic metaphor is at the very centre of Handke's grave, laconic film, produced by Wim Wenders, which begins where The American Friend left off: in the ringing void of Roissy airport. Here, the Woman (Edith Clever, superb in the role) meets her husband (Ganz) and, for no apparent reason, rejects him in favour of a solitary voyage through her own private void. In her house, with her child, the film records a double flight of escape and exploration, her rediscovery of the world, her relocation of body, home and landscape. This emotional labour makes its own economy: silence, an edge of solemnity, an overwhelming painterly grace. Self-effacement is made the paradoxical means of self-discovery, and the film becomes a hymn to a woman's liberating private growth, a moving, deceptively fragile contemplation of a world almost beyond words.' -- CA



Trailer



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Lewis Gilbert Moonraker (1979)
'Hugo Drax (who has the honorary title of "Sir" in the novel) is a fictional character created by author Ian Fleming for the James Bond novel Moonraker. Fleming named him after his friend, Sir Reginald Drax. For the later film and its novelization, Drax was almost entirely changed by screenwriter Christopher Wood. In the film, Drax is portrayed by French actor Michael Lonsdale. In both versions of Moonraker, Drax is the main antagonist. An example of the Drax character's ruthlessness as portrayed in the film is given by the manner in which he disposes of enemies. In one case, after discovering that his personal pilot Corinne Dufour had assisted Bond in discovering his plans, Drax fires her and proceeds to set his trained dogs on her. The Beaucerons chase her into a forest on the estate and kill her.' -- jamesbond.com



Excerpt


007 Legends - Interview with Michael Lonsdale



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Jean-Jacques Annaud The Name of the Rose (1986)
'What we have here is the setup for a wonderful movie. What we get is a very confused story, photographed in such murky gloom that sometimes it is hard to be sure exactly what is happening. William of Baskerville listens closely and nods wisely and pokes into out-of-the-way corners, and makes solemn pronouncements to his young novice. Clearly, he is onto something, but the screenplay is so loosely constructed that few connections are made between his conclusions and what happens next. What this movie needs is a clear, spare, logical screenplay. It's all inspiration and no discipline. At a crucial moment in the film, William and his novice seem sure to be burned alive, and we have to deduce how they escaped because the movie doesn't tell us. There are so many good things in The Name of the Rose - the performances, the reconstruction of the period, the over-all feeling of medieval times - that if the story had been able to really involve us, there would have been quite a movie here.' -- Roger Ebert



Excerpt



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James Ivory The Remains of the Day (1993)
'Based on the 1989 Booker Prize winning novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day is told in a series of flashbacks as Stevens, near the end of his life, makes a trip across the English countryside for a meeting that he hopes might reconcile his past mistakes. Anthony Hopkins received an Academy Award nomination for his subtle and penetrating portrayal of Stevens: in his tight shoulders and breathy hesitations, Hopkins discovers a deep humanity in a man who would leave his father's deathbed to wait on his master at a dinner gathering. His rapport with Thompson, who also received an Oscar nomination, creates some of the most iconic and psychologically charged romantic tension in recent film history. The supporting cast includes Hugh Grant as Lord Darlington's nephew, the enterprising journalist Cardinal; and Christopher Reeve as the American politician who tries to open the eyes of the English aristocracy to the imminent Nazi threat.' -- collaged



Trailer



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John Frankenheimer Ronin (1998)
'I enjoyed the film on two levels: for its skill and its silliness. The actors are without exception convincing in their roles, and the action makes little sense. Consider the Stellan Skarsgard character, who is always popping out his laptop computer and following the progress of chase scenes with maps and what I guess are satellite photos. Why does he do this? To affirm to himself that elsewhere something is indeed happening, I think. The best scene is one of the quieter ones, as De Niro's character gives instructions on how a bullet is to be removed from his side. “I once removed a guy's appendix with a grapefruit spoon,” he explains, and, more urgently: “Don't take it out unless you really got it.” The scene ends with a line that De Niro, against all odds, is able to deliver so that it is funny and touching at the same time: “You think you can stitch me up on your own? If you don't mind, I'm gonna pass out.” John Frankenheimer is known as a master of intelligent thrillers (The Manchurian Candidate (1962), 52 Pick-Up), and his films almost always have a great look: There is a quality in the visuals that's hard to put your finger on, but that brings a presence to the locations, making them feel like more than backdrops.' -- collaged



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François Ozon 5x2 (2004)
'In 5x2, François Ozon, the hard-working boy wonder of new French cinema, leads us backwards through the failed marriage of a young couple, from the cold details of their divorce to the first pangs of lust on the shores of a Sardinian beach resort. It’s an interesting exercise in signposting. Too often, we watch movies and groan at the obvious twists and turns towards a predictable end. But there’s something Brechtian about Ozon’s approach here. The end is clear; the question is how we got there, what we can deduce from the little behaviour we witness. The experience is something like a criminal investigation, a search for clues to Gilles and Marion’s impending break-up. It makes for engaging viewing – but still leaves you with a feeling that all love is doomed. Stimulating, but hardly comforting.' -- collaged



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Xavier Beauvois Of Gods and Men (2010)
'Of Gods and Men is a 2010 French drama film directed by Xavier Beauvois, starring Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale. Its original French language title is Des hommes et des dieux, which means "Of Men and of Gods" and refers to a verse from the Bible shown at the beginning of the film. It centers on the monastery of Tibhirine, where nine Trappist monks lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria, until seven of them were kidnapped and assassinated in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War. The film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix, the festival's second most prestigious award. It became a critical and commercial success in its domestic market, and won both the Lumière Award and César Award for Best Film.' -- collaged



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p.s. Hey. Oh, Dazed Digital let me pick four new writers (Frank Hinton, Eugene Lim, Joyelle McSweeney, Darby Larson) I like a lot, and those four and new work by them were showcased on the site yesterday plus an interview with me if you're interested to see that. Here. ** Scunnard, Hi, J. More sunshine here too. Of a slightly unpleasant type. Visually very nice, but physically mixed, unless one likes to sweat. I don't. People do, though. It's in the record books. Yeah, hard to resist that band name, and that they do what they do while being Russian/in Russia at the same time. It adds up to intrigue, yeah. I guess via-a-vis my ideal re: the giftstacks, it's bad. However, I chose them. I usually try to avoid identifier gifs, but, for that one, I told myself fuck it. The identifiable as a comedic device was my thinking. Do you know how hard it is to do a gif post right now without using gifs made from 'Game of Thrones'? Very hard. And yet I try my best even though I've never watched the show and don't know who's in it or what it looks like. Thank you for allowing me that last shred of distinction. I'm hugging myself. ** Kier, Thanks, pal! Ooh, nice Buster Keaton head thing. Ouch, but surely your arms are at least slightly smoother and less manipulative of your nervous system today? God, I hope so. Ooh, I think I will try to watch that Pinocchio film. Thank you again. I have so much thanks for you today. I never sleep on my back unless I'm so jet lagged that I can't help it. No, but you can rent gorilla costumes in France and, without the heads, hands, and feet, they're kind of a lot like Krampus body costumes, so that's what we're renting. We were going to buy actual Krampus body costumes from Austria, but they're way out of our budget's reach. I hope you slept better. I'm still not sleeping well, and it's catching up to me. I'm kind of sad, gloomy, and loopy at the same time. It's a weird feeling. Love to you! ** Bill, Hi. Moving, ha ha, yeah. I thought of that gif stack as a tragic opera. No, well, kind of. Linz does sound charming. And there must be a big chocolate factory there, no? Linz Chocolate is a thing. I would take a tour of the chocolate factory if it exists and if I were you, but I'm not you, sadly. Do you get along smoothly or even blissfully with your family? ** Nicki, Hi. People like owls. People make lots of owl gifs. I had to choose carefully. Good for you for getting back to work. I like the sound and future pay off of that. Two months late, blah, whatever, right? That old late disco or early techno song 'The Rhythm of the Night' just bashed its way into my head for some reason as I thought disparagingly about deadlines. It might mean something. Love, me. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Ha ha, nice, thank you! Do, do report back on the Merge thing and the Baltimore thing and anything else that unexpectedly occurs and causes you excitement of some sort. Would be awfully swell. Oh, man, I have to get that R-G box. I'm going to so get that R-G box, like, as soon as I go to a store that sells such things, which should be easy and take place soon. Tell me about it: finally getting the first R-G novel translated. If 'Sentimental Novel' did okay, and it fucking should be doing okay even though I've read hardly a peep of press and reviews re: it, maybe DA would. You have a great weekend too! ** Steevee, Hi. It's good. You should get it, I think. The Shabazz Palaces album. Yeah, I got an early promo leak of it. No, I never write about anything anywhere anymore. I don't have the time, and my non-fiction chops, such as they ever were, are very rusty. I think heard a track or two by Chimurenga Renaissance, but that's all. I think what I heard was really interesting. ** David Ehrenstein, Is that true? That makes sense. There should be band called RHM, maybe an offshoot of REM, or maybe if they ever reform without Michael Stipe involved, they could call themselves that. You didn't go to the reunion? Understandable. The idea of going to a high school reunion feels very depressing to me. I don't know why. Oh, shit, about Steve Gugliemi. I'm so sorry. Yikes. ** Keaton, Thank you, maestro. I think your sentence-making goal is totally attainable. I've tried to do that. It's not easy, but I think I managed it here and there, but not often enough make my style's signature, which would have been nice, so you should make it your style's signature, and then I can be the ... witness, you know, like the guy who signs someone else's legal document to prove that it actually happened or whatever. My castle would/will have no cockroaches in it, sir. You can be a daddy long legs spider on my castle wall. Is that okay? Whoa, a calendar. You coopted and reinvented the calendar. I'm totally down with that, result-wise and impetus-wise. Pretty and smart and snaky to boot. Everyone, Keaton, my brother in stack-making arms, has made a calendar stack. Used the calendar form to build something with his characteristic interests, style, and know-how, is what I mean. Resulting in a totem of teen-ish flesh and cars and even a cell phone and other stuff. Go check it out, you guys. Love, D. ** Kyler, Thanks, buddy. Yay, Paree and I await our official copy of your book! Wow, they gave you 60 author copies? That's generous and cool of them. Sweet. ** Misanthrope, Oh, is that right? I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense. A certain amount. Heads are a lot more fragile than we give them credit for being. Huh. Good thing I don't really swim except in semi-extreme to extreme circumstances. Shit. ** Aaron Mirkin, Hi, Aaron! I know, I saw a photo of you and LC on Facebook. I think I even 'liked' it. Yeah, I did, because I honestly and sincerely liked it. Oh, man, I'm so sorry about the ex-boyfriend. I feel that. It's such a confusing situation for so many reasons. Like, for instance, one dilemma: Do you believe in language enough to accept that the words he said completely sponged up and represented what he is honestly feeling, which involves accepting that he knows what he's feeling precisely enough to translate it into words that he is sure reflects his entire and exact feelings? If you do believe that, it's painful, and if you don't, you get stuck in a confusion and hope and despair cycle. And if you don't, all you're left with is trying to interpret his behavior, which is impossible to do because it's impossible to cancel out your subjectivity. It's horrible. But I guess accepting that he means it and believes what he said is the only way to go, sanity-wise, and sanity is the better, more productive option. I don't know, I'm rambling, but that's tough, really tough. It's weird and boring to say that these things resolve themselves without you have much power over the situation so you should try to surrender to destiny, but that's probably what will happen: it'll be resolved, and you'll be okay with it by the time it does. I'm sorry, man. That's really hard. Hugs. ** Okay. Michael Lonsdale is this French actor who has one of the most impressive resumes imaginable in terns of working with really good directors, and I tried to lay all of that out for you today as best I could, and now you should do with that what you will. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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p.s. Hey. Like always re: gif favoring posts, regrets re: the time it took to load ** David Ehrenstein, It does look really good, doesn't it. I'm exciting. Hoping to get an early peek at it soonish. That looks like a great piece on R-G. Wow, thank you a lot for passing it along. I'm about to be all over it. ** Keaton, Hey. I'm a labor intensive gif combining guy, hopefully with pay-off. Yeah, her writing is so incredibly not sloppy and trite, wow, weird. I'm all not about the story, I guess. You're such a hard head sometimes, it's funny. All or nothing. I'm so not about the all or nothing, I guess. 'Uncrafted shit': hardly. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Wow, did I just type that stupid sentence? I'm sleepy, and extended bad sleep is catching up with me, and I'm tired. Apologies. Get happier with your writing, man. Get with the program. The program of your fans. ** Steevee, Ha ha, thanks. Have you heard the Shabazz Palaces album? It's pretty wild and amazing, I think. ** _Black_Acrylic, That's interesting. I wondered if you knew Sue Tompkins's work. I only recently discovered it. I was reading about 'Orange Brainwash Tribute', and I really want to see that. The link didn't meet France's approval, true, but I'll see if it's elsewhere. Thank you. I didn't know about Hayley. Cool, thank you again. Great about the Franz West show, very nice. Back to Dundee! Good luck with the Studio Jamming prep. ** Kier, Hi, K. Oh, ugh, suck, so sorry about your arms, that's awful. I don't know '964 Pinocchio', but what a weird, good title. I'll check it out. I've never had sleep paralysis, but it's super eerie in its imagined form. Do they know what it is and what causes it? Okay, I'll download 'The Dreaming'. I guess she's doing a concert or series of them in London for the first time in, like, 30 years or something? People on FB were losing their shit trying to buy tickets a while back. Thanks about the casting call. I hope it works too. Too early to tell. Aw, thanks about my hugging abilities. My day was ... film film film, as usual. Figuring stuff out or trying to. A lot of deciding on the Krampus costumes because we have to buy or make arrangements to rent them today because my last remaining in-town film collaborator, our Art Director Emilie, leaves town tomorrow, after which I will be entirely on my own with the film work/prep. I made that casting call thing. Someone I know was an asshole to me for no reason that I can understand, and I was confused about that for a while. I don't know, it wasn't a great day, but things got done or started to get done. Plus, I'm not sleeping well of late, and that caught up with me yesterday. Blah blah, whine whine. Today will hopefully be better. How are your arms today? What did you do? ** Torn porter, Hi, Mr. Porter! That's okay about the disappearing. Things happen and all of that. Our film is in an inbetween, lots of work and planning phase that's kind of difficult, but I imagine this part will pass successfully. In general, it's going really well. Yeah, finding a tall tattooed guy in the Bar Area, if you're still there, does indeed sound like it wouldn't be too, too hard. Weird. What other attributes is he required to have? Yeah, I really like the new White Lung album quite a bit. I'd love to see them. I'll check the listings. So, are you doing well in general? ** Chilly Jay Chill, Hi, Jeff. The Bug and Shabazz Palaces albums are really good. The Shabazz Palaces album is really out there and kind of amazing, at least on early listens. I haven't heard the entire Owen Pallett album yet, but the, let's see, four tracks I've heard are really good. Oh, man, really lucky you on that Merge 25th concert! Wow. What's Superchunk like live now? Back when, they were one of the best ever live bands, in my opinion, but I love their early albums a whole lot. Did Destroyer play with a band? What was it like? I recently decided that I think maybe 'Yer Blues' is my all-time favorite album. Did Polvo play? I love Polvo. Any report on that fest you want to give would be highly appeciated. Best of luck on the Baltimore reading. Break everyone's legs. Will do about the 'Providence' DVD. Enjoy everything! ** Schlix, Hi, Uli! Thank you about the gig. Eleh is great, yeah. I don't know for sure, but I would be pretty surprised if Peter Rehberg doesn't know them. I'll ask Stephen. Thanks about the casting call. Fingers crossed, yeah. And have a blast in Amsterdam. Tell me what you did and what you think of it. ** Misanthrope, Oh, sure, the young bottom into older tops is fairly prevalent from the online evidence I've seen. Young masters seeking old slaves is pretty common, for instance. ** Sypha, I don't know that press, no, except by name and via the names of some of its authors, but it sounds really good, so very best of luck with them! ** Rewritedept, Hi. Maybe they'll be perturbed in a positive way. Maybe you'll open their eyes. That's good thing about using that content, even though the opened eyes will always be outnumbered by the scrunched shut ones. Yesterday was much like the others. So it goes. Has to be. Progress isn't always a cake walk. Awesome about the art show thing. Take some installation shots, please. Love from this side of the pond. ** Etc etc etc, Hi! Thanks a bunch for the excerpts via Dropbox. I'll go get those in just a few minutes. And for the link to the rough but emblematic section. Bookmarked for my next entrance into fresh air. The film ... well, it was originally a porno a while back, but Zac and I revised it into something that's definitely not a porno but does revolve around sex and is explicit when the sex occurs. It's much more interesting than it was going to be in its porno days, or I sure hope so. Oh, cool, about you coming to Paris with your gf. I'll be in the midst of film stuff, but we can definitely meet up if you want and if you give me your coordinates when the time is right. That would be great! Take it easy, C. ** Right. Today you get one of my gif suites. I guess that's all there is to say about it. But I'll see you tomorrow.