Saturday, August 4, 2007

Kael

There's a famous anecdote involving Marlon Brando's Broadway debut. Brando, probably the greatest actor to grace the screen thus far, revolutionized the art form. Although remarkable actors like James Cagney, Clark Gable, and especially Bette Davis, predated him by a few decades, it was truly Brando who galvanized an entire generation of actors, including James Dean and Paul Newman.

Film critic Pauline Kael attended a performance of "Truckline Cafe," a play in which then unknown Brando was starring. The scene that followed was this:

"Critic Pauline Kael saw Brando on Broadway, during one of the 13 performances of a 1946 flop play titled Truckline Café. Brando played a soldier who has just murdered his wife out of jealousy. Kael wrote that she looked away—she thought this young actor was having a fit onstage." (Source)

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that many hardened reviewers are having similarly visceral reactions to Marion's performance in "La Vie En Rose." This is a watershed moment.

For years I had grown numb as to what great acting could be. Sure, a few performances came along which impressed me enormously--Kate Winslet, for one, always seems to put in performances that belong in that great thespian pantheon. Add to that list the great Juliette Binoche and the criminally underrated Gong Li. Peter Saarsgard has been doing some consistently wonderful, subtle work. Penelope Cruz was magnificent in "Volver."

But to watch Marion is to watch something leagues above the competition. It shocks the soul.

1 comment:

Case said...

Que Amores!