Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Josef von Sternberg, een retrospektieve

BG 1969. D: Harry Kümel. DP: Ghislain Cloquet; WITH: Josef von Sternberg, Dorothée Blank; P: Jacques Ledoux, Denise Delvaux, BRT 16mm. 75’. In English and Flemish. From: Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique per concessione di VRT. - Presenta Eric De Kuyper, earphone translation in Italian and English, viewed at Cinema Lumière 2, Bologna, 30 June 2009. - A low contrast 16mm print. 16mm is the original format of the material shot for this documentary. - Shortly before his death in 1969 Josef von Sternberg (born 29 May 1894) gave this interview to the Belgian television. He is mentally in great shape. He is smoking. - JvS: I'm a very complicated man. The older I get, the more complicated I become. - I was a great collector. I had everything. I was the unhappiest man. I got rid of everything. It's best to be without anything. When you wish for something you are reasonably happy. - Complete freedom is very dangerous. You must have things against which to operate. - The paradox: I don't think I'm an artist. The artist produces nothing. The artist is recognized after death. Talent is not easy. It is easier to be a genius than to have talent. An artist knows when to stop. - Matisse: the canvas takes possession of him. - I have made very few films. - Ice cold: the only way to create passion. - The wind of life breathes in my films. - There is hardly any difference between women and men. Women have more sense. - Cigarettes in films: creating motion on screen. Every second some perceptible movement. There has to be motion all the time. - Actors are like children: only body, no brain. - Masks in Asian theatre: you have a thousand masks. - I am Marlene. - JOSEF VON STERNBERG LIGHTS DOROTHEE BLANK (THE LAST FILM OF JOSEF VON STERNBERG?): Dorothée Blank: A Conception. First we see the normal face. Then: the selection of wigs. JvS makes up Dorothée's face. "It is really not her face, but I impose it on her". "Alien to her, alien to me". He sets a fan. "Forget about everything". "Make backlight stronger". "Bring it down". "I'm not doing this for television, I'm doing this for film". Using the cucoloris (the cookie). Using the exposure meter. "Don't make it automatic". "Make believe you're a tree". Dorothée Blank gets tired. Masks in front of her: sorrow, weariness. "An actor does not cry". "The business is to simulate. To hide and to reveal". "The essential remains hidden". - I was very grateful to see this complete documentary. I had only seen the Dorothée Blank sequence before (on German tv in the 1980s).

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