The filmmaker Serge Bozon returns to questions of cinema that need to be seen extra gently. And, utilizing his magnifying glass, at all times discovers a lesson there. This time: The Almond Timber by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi.
The tip-of-year celebrations are over, we ate, we received the presents we requested for and we spent New 12 months’s Eve with the folks we love. Now it’s important to shed some pounds and cease enthusiastic about what you requested for, about your tastes and people you’re keen on – writing primary, impersonal, factual.
Everybody agrees with Renoir that crucial factor in a movie are the actors. However how ought to an actor play? There, not everybody agrees. This winter, Jean-Marie Straub died and The Almond Timber got here out, an autobiographical movie by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi dedicated to apprentice actors getting into the Chéreau college within the 80s. Chéreau typically repeated that the actors of Straub/Huillet had been greens (leeks, in my reminiscence). He additionally disliked Rohmer’s actors, whom he discovered bland. He was not the one one. I do not forget that, nonetheless within the 80s, Jean-Marc Roberts repeated on TV exhibits how exasperated he was by Rohmer’s movies. In 2018, I used to be on a competition jury with three actresses who didn’t assist the performing properly in a neo-Rohmerian movie by Guillaume Brac (Tales of July). There’s an intact resistance of actors popping out of colleges and literary folks coming from the theater to performing of the Straub or Rohmer sort. That is a truth. Why name him again?
Between the mid-Eighties and the top of the Nineties, the route of actors in French auteur cinema was dominated by Chéreau-Téchiné-Doillon, for example a sure relationship to depth (in case you like) or to hysteria (in case you do not prefer it). Usually, Lambert Wilson in Appointment (Téchiné, 1985), Laure Marsac in The Pirate (Doillon, 1984), Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi in Those that love me will take the prepare (Chereau, 1998). However there have been counter-powers, amongst others Mocky, Brisseau, Vecchiali, Ruiz, Biette, Akerman, Blain, Zucca, Stévenin, Dubroux, Garrel, Davila… and all of the previous New Wave (Rohmer, Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rivette, Resnais, Varda, Rozier, Demy, Moullet). In a decisive interview for The Notebooks of the Cinema (no. 430, April 1990), Rohmer criticizes the extreme/hysterical trio for praising the franc-tireurs cited, of which Chéreau was furthermore the Turk’s head (search for instance on the character referred to as “Patrick Séraud” in Bareback of Vecchiali…). Right now, counter-powers are rarer.
What precisely is that this relationship to depth? Properly, the speech given by Garrel/Chéreau within the movie and which we additionally hear continuous through the documentary on the capturing of almond timber. Valeria Bruni-Tedechi, in an nearly everlasting state of trance, repeats to the actors: “ It’s a must to present me a gaping wound », “Go deep inside your self », “What I would love us to movie is one thing as upset as that”, ” Its a query of life or demise », “It’s a must to put your self in peril, be uncooked », and many others. At one level, she asks an actor to inform her what he’s most ashamed of. A really younger actress informed me just lately that she was bored with being requested that at each casting, as a result of it bothers her lots; furthermore, by dint of telling, his disgrace wears away; so as to not put on it out, she is obliged to alter her shameful reminiscence every time; therefore her last worry of steadily turning into recognized on this planet (of casting administrators) as a lady who has actually performed plenty of shameful issues.
Why ask that to the actors? Whether or not or not you’re a fan of the performances of Vincent Perez, Bruno Todeschini, Laurent Grévill… in Chéreau’s movies, it ought to be remembered that not one of the nice actors of the nice Hollywood cinema sought depth on this sense: Fred Astaire, John Wayne, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable… play calm, nearly informal, doing the minimal – everybody is aware of that. And we will exchange Hollywood with Mosfilm, Cinecittà or no matter you need. So this obsession with depth might be simply an Actor’s Studio legacy badly digested – we dream of doing Nicholas Ray and we find yourself with Elia Kazan… In reality, I feel it is above all a casting factor to type out as rapidly as potential (there are such a lot of candidates every time!) those that put their guts on the desk. To sum up, it is much less an aesthetic of the sport than a sorting approach. Chéreau’s approach eliminates what’s modest, amateurish and bland within the actor, Rohmer’s does the other and “amateurizes” the whole lot. However I insist: it’s not as a result of I like Bresson, Straub or Rohmer that I contest Chéreau’s speech. It’s the historical past of cinema that disputes this. Chéreau was in search of the reality of his characters, that is for certain, however filming eventualities crammed with tantrums for his actors to have tantrums on set, it is not an excellent mysterious program.
Again to the film. What shocked me, and nearly touched me, is that the filmmaker does probably not know what to do with the rehearsal scenes of Platonov, and extra typically with theater studying. Nobody says something particular about Chekhov’s piece, so it could possibly be any piece, Garrel/Chéreau’s speeches throughout rehearsals are the same old normal steamroller on depth, urgency, taking threat… To sum up, there’s nothing exact the place Rohmer’s cinema, for instance, is predicated on precision (the development, the dialogues, the psychology, the social context, the reminiscence of what every character has stated). When Marie Rivière, Pascale Ogier, Béatrice Romand, Charlotte Véry… play, there’s a exact and each day reality that Chéreau won’t ever obtain, as a result of on a regular basis life can be the danger of blandness, delicate whim, ingratitude and off hours. No one is intense twenty-four hours a day, and luckily!
Again to the film. It might be unfair to reproach the filmmaker for steadily abandoning collective studying to deal with her private drama of youth. The individual accountable is Chéreau. Learn how to say ? I’ve the impression that he so electrified her forty years in the past together with his obsession with depth that she was solely capable of “do” it in her personal life, because it produces nothing, in reality, on stage or on display screen. Sure, it is a twisted doubt that has typically crossed my thoughts: is it due to theater faculties that actors typically have such bumpy lives? As if the college compelled them to that – they take the depth the place it can provide one thing, that’s to say in life. It is human, it is regular. Perhaps I am flawed.
Again to the film. It ought to be much more primary, extra impersonal. My mother and father had been shocked as a result of the scholars fuck lots with one another and likewise take medicine lots, with one another and with their academics. They had been additionally shocked that not one of the contestants talked about any style in performing through the preliminary auditions (all of them discuss tremendous intimate stuff). It does not fly very excessive as a critic, however does the movie fly very excessive? It is as much as you to reply. Why write this primary textual content (and stuffed with anecdotes)? It is as much as me to reply. The filmmaker is super-sincere, Nadia Tereszkiewicz super-expressive, Micha Lescot super-gifted in floating… Sure. However the critic is typically there to recall primary and impersonal issues, which don’t depend upon the tastes of the critic any greater than on these of the filmmaker. For instance, Straub and Chéreau should not the identical. And loving each is not possible. Every little thing shouldn’t be the identical.