Friday, December 30, 2005

On Occasion

On occasion I might visit this Cinemasparagus to post some writing about the movies.

This is more an introductory test-text than anything else, an easy high-sign and an American wolf-whistle just now, so I'll use it to single out the wonderful Michèle Mercier for initiatory praise, whom I only just (re)discovered in François Truffaut's great film 'Shoot the Piano Player' ('Tirez sur le pianiste'). I don't know anything about this "Angélique" character that Mercier has been associated with for decades, and which association she's been trying to shake herself free from ever since, but her performance in Truffaut's film is an unremarked centerpiece. Here she's gutsy and fragile, has a libido and more than anything shows the noblest heart in a film full of sacrifice and buried heads. If Truffaut disposes of Mercier too abruptly in the course of the action, it's only because she, like all women who inspire ultimate love, requires the second, third, fourth glance before her merit (or, in Truffaut terms, magic) becomes evident, and what's more, François -- for all the pressbook bluster about his friend Marie Dubois -- knows it. Quite a discovery to be made then when we at last discover this starlet of ur-Bellucci qualities (only more ravishing, sympathetic) in our fifth viewing of the film; with all apologies to Fereydoun Hoveyda, on earlier occasions we'd only been blinded by the sun. It has always been characteristic of Truffaut's powers to hide the great surprises and pleasures in plain sight.

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