Primal Screen

I didn’t particularly enjoy THE ANGEL’S LEAP but this image is nice, and neatly illustrates that thing Luis Bunuel was just saying:

Octavio Paz has said, “But that a man in chains should shut his eyes, the world would explode.” And I could say: But that the white eyelid of the screen reflect its proper light, the Universe would go up in flames. But for the moment we can sleep in peace: the light of the cinema is conveniently dosified and shackled.

I chose to watch this Marseilles-based thriller because I wanted some distraction as my favourite aunt just died from Covid-19, under the most miserable circumstances. It’s not director Yves Boisset’s fault that his film is full of death, hospitals, funerals, making it not perhaps the best distraction you could have. But it’s fairly mindless so it had that in its favour.

It’s a bit more visually attractive than Boisset’s Manchette adaptation, FOLLE A TUER, but much less involving. Basic revenge stuff. Jean Yanne, a good actor, is a rather doughy action hero, Sterling Hayden struggles to express himself in French, but Senta Berger is great as ever and Gordon Mitchell is an interesting screen presence. The only Italian muscleman star with an interesting rather than bland face, and (and this is a surprising thing to find) he wears clothes really well.

The main villain has a preposterous Bondian lair and keeps vultures as pets. Idiot. He gets slung off his balcony and lands on some power lines in front of a drive-in screen, all pretty preposterous (every aspect of it: why would a rich man live over a drive-in?). Boisset’s main visual trope is to track around his characters in a half-circle, which is nice enough but it’s the only thing of note the camera ever does. Like they had a length of curving track and they wanted to get the most out of it.

THE ANGEL’S LEAP stars Jean-Paul Marat; Elisabeth Sibelius; General Jack D. Ripper; Napoleon Bonaparte; Maciste; Victor Maigrat; Eurylochus; Alessio Karenin; and Louise Danton.

6 Responses to “Primal Screen”

  1. Sorry for your loss. As far as distractions go, during an overall crappy year, this blog has been a source of daily delight. Thanks for carrying on.

  2. La Faustin Says:

    Brandon said it perfectly. Condolences, love, and thanks.

  3. Thanks, both of you. I love doing it and have no desire to stop.

  4. I’m very sorry to hear about your aunt.

  5. She was a lovely woman. Got sick with a knee infection, had to go to hospital, caught Covid and faded away. One statistic among hundreds of thousands.

  6. Simon Kane Says:

    I’m so sorry, David. Echoing Brandon.

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