not that you should care about the motivations of your humble correspondent, but breaking once the vow to myself never to blog about movies seems to have opened the floodgates as i now feel a sick need to write about arnaud desplechin. just re-watched his enormous KINGS AND QUEEN — the DVD of which has some incredible extras, including interviews with desplechin and others with the films’ incredible actors.
in the desplechin interview we learn one method that makes possible the density and overflowing of theme and idea and joke in the movie. desplechin had been reading truffaut who wrote to his scriptwriter once, “How can you imagine I will make a scene of four minutes to say one idea?” desplechin decided to make a motto (and one-up) his idol, by placing above his writing desk the following: “Each minute we have to be sure that we show five different ideas.”
the interview also reveals desplechin’s frankly weird idea of the specific possibility of cinema–one it turns out related to a very gendered idea of the psychology of romance. it came out of his re-watching VERTIGO.
I thought I was not a fan of VERTIGO. I thought that I preferred MARNIE. But when I saw the real film that Hitchcock wanted to make, I was crying and crying and crying… I thought the film was saying something, an awful truth about manhood, which would be that each time you love a woman, there is another hidden woman who died before, and that you haven’t been able to stop that. … It doesn’t have to be a particular woman, but there is this idea that as soon as you start your love life, there is a woman who died before and that you will mourn all your life. And all the women you will meet, they will be pale copies of this dead woman. …And I think cinema [in particular] …is able to describe that sort of feeling …which is typically …bizarre…quite abstract and concrete… I think that on the opposite side for a woman… I think that each woman has killed a man before the man she is loving now.
i’m really not sure about all of that. maybe it’s important, maybe not — but what a film! overspilling with gesture and idea and tragedy. totally artificial and yet utterly connecting with human experience. a completely new type of extraordinary epic built out of artificially and continuously contradicting characters’ psychologies.