Tuesday, July 05, 2022

The One Sings the Other Doesn't

Independent Actresses

Actors are essential to movies — otherwise there would be no-one to recite the dialogue. —(Old Mesa-belt joke.) — Some thinker-makers perceive an accompanying aura: posited by Marcos Uzal (Cahiers du cinéma, no. 788, June 2022), "[actors] are the flesh of films." Jean-Marie Samocki in the same issue, in an article prefatory to a dossier on this species known as the French actor (said dossier occasioned by that novel Cannes 75 assembly of... many French actors), puts forth that "[t]he time is ripe to propose a cartography, with all its territories, its lines of force, its dynamics." "The phantasy of homogeneity cultivated by the love of Truffaut and Resnais seems old-fashioned..." A few sentences later, Samocki lauds "the originary energy of the silent film (as in Annette)" of Marion Cotillard, and Melvil Poupaud's "Sixties lightness."

Paramount in French criticism (aside from the trope of map-making) are the overflowing comparisons to the silent cinema, the Sixties cinema (Seventies cinema exists vis-à-vis May '68), and... the theater. Shoot a film with actors on a stage and you concentrate the concentration of the French professionals of the (critical) profession and the thinker-makers (Desplechin, etc.) that much more acutely. The theater, live performance (the tableaux are like Méliès), has it all: risk; presence; invisible 180-line; site-specificity in atmosphere and acoustics; most-palpable durée; and so on. 

The opening of The One Sings the Other Doesn't [L'une chante l'autre pas, 1977] set in 1962 recalls a family film of Pialat or Truffaut. To be sure, Varda's film sets down the planks of family life, or rather motherhood: to keep a child or not to; to experience femininity in its selfsame fecundity, or to experience it as a mutual feminine empathy.


Other writing on Agnès Varda at Cinemasparagus:

La Pointe-Courte [1955]

Ô saisons ô châteaux [O Seasons, O Châteaux, 1957]

L'Opéra-Mouffe, carnet de notes filmées rue Mouffetard par une femme enceinte en 1958 [The Opéra-Mouffe: Diary Filmed on the rue Mouffetard in Paris by a Pregnant Woman in 1958, 1958]

Du côté de la Côte [Around the Côte, 1958]

Les fiancés du pont Mac Donald, ou (Méfiez-vous des lunettes noires) [The Fiancés of the Pont Mac Donald, or: (Beware of Dark Glasses), 1961]

Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cléo from 5 to 7, 1962]

Le bonheur [Happiness, 1964]

Elsa la Rose [Elsa the Rose, 1966]

Les créatures [The Creatures, 1966]

Uncle Yanco [1967]

Black Panthers [1968]

Lions Love... and Lies / Lions Love [1969]

Réponse de femmes à une question produite par Antenne 2 pour le magazine 'F. comme Femme' [Women's Response to a Question Put Forth by Antenne 2 for the Magazine-Show 'F. comme Femme', 1975]

Daguerréotypes [1976]

Plaisir d'amour en Iran [Giddiness of Love in Iran] [1976]

L'une chante l'autre pas [The One Sings the Other Doesn't] [1977]


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