Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Great Buster: A Celebration


Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Country: USA
Year: 2018
Duration: 1.42
Languages: English / no subtitles
Original name: The Great Buster
Category: Documentary Films, Gems of New Cinema, History of Cinema
    DCP viewed at Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF), The Big Top, 12 June 2019.

MSFF: "This tribute to the master of silent film which won Best Documentary on Cinema in Venice is only the third documentary in Peter Bogdanovich’s long career; his first one covered the life and career of film director John Ford."

"The Great Buster: A Celebration is a compact package of the life and works of another American film genius – and delivers exactly what the title promises. The celebratory film proves that Keaton was a survivor whose stoic attitude got him through hardships in both life and career. Keaton kept working until the end and lived long enough to see his reputation redeemed as a celebrated guest at film festivals. Already in 1960, Keaton was honoured with a special Academy Award."

"In this documentary, Werner Herzog names Keaton one of the great inventors of cinema. Norman Lloyd, 104, gives a testimony of seamless co-operation between Keaton and Chaplin. Historian Leonard Maltin says Keaton is the special effects in his films. The younger commentators admire Buster’s ability to produce physical comedy that is comparable to ballet. Jon Watts considers the latest Spider-Man inspired by Keaton’s capability to act through his eyes."

"Bogdanovich first presents Keaton’s short films before moving on to his downhill spiral. After selling his production company, the independent film maker was reined by MGM and lost his quality touch. However, the documentary finishes with Keaton’s dozen feature films to test the viewer; if you laugh, you’re still alive." (HB) MSFF

AA: I love Peter Bogdanovich as a film historian, fiction film director (The Last Picture Show) and a documentary film director (Directed By John Ford).

Of Buster Keaton documentaries, Kevin Brownlow and David Gill's Buster Keaton: A Hard Act To Follow (1987, 160 min) is a hard act to follow.

Produced by the Cohen Collection, The Great Buster suffers a bit from a conventional dvd bonus feature approach. There are too many unnecessary celebrity soundbites.

But from this documentary I learn many things that are new to me or that I had forgotten. Especially Buster Keaton's television career is richly illustrated, including his television commercials which are often very funny. Sampled is also his interpretation in The Awakening, based on Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat, a reminder of the fact that Keaton was also a very good straight actor.

The structure is chronological with the important exception that Keaton's ten great feature films are saved for the last. From Three Ages till Steamboat Bill, Jr., these ten masterpieces produced within five years are his most lasting legacy.

All Keaton's independent short films are sampled, from One Week till The Love Nest.

The Keaton legacy has been reconstructed and restored with great care during the last years. The visual quality of the samples reflects the highly variable status of the source materials. From the brilliant to the highly battered, all Keaton's independent films are reflections of a comic talent that is unique and extraordinary not only in the history of the cinema but in the history of world art.

Etusivu / Movies / Elokuvat luokittain / Elokuvan historia / THE GREAT BUSTER
THE GREAT BUSTER

Ohjaaja: Peter Bogdanovich

Maa: Yhdysvallat

Vuosi: 2018

Kesto: 1.42

Kielet: englanti / ei tekstitystä

Alkup. nimi: The Great Buster

Kategoria: Dokumenttielokuvat, Elokuvan historia, Selkeesti onnellinen!!, Uuden elokuvan helmet

Venetsiassa sarjansa voittanut kunnianosoitus mykkäfilmin mestarille on vasta kolmas Peter Bogdanovichin pitkän uran dokumenttiohjaus. Ensimmäinen käsitteli John Fordia.

The Great Buster: A Celebration tarjoaa toisen amerikkalaisen elokuvaneron elämän ja teot kompaktina pakettina ja pitää sen minkä lisänimessään lupaa. Juhlafilmi todistaa Keatonin selviytyjäksi, joka oli stoalaisella suhtautumisellaan voittoisa niin elämänsä kuin uransa vastoinkäymisissä. Keaton työskenteli loppuun saakka. Hän ehti myös nähdä maineenpalautuksensa filmifestivaalien juhlittuna vieraana. Kunnia-Oscar Busterille myönnettiin jo vuonna 1960.

Dokumentissa Werner Herzog nimeää Keatonin yhdeksi elokuvan suurista keksijöistä. 104-vuotias Norman Lloyd antaa silminnäkijätodistuksen Keatonin ja Chaplinin saumattomasta yhteistyöstä. Historioitsija Leonard Maltin näkee mestarin omien elokuviensa erikoistehosteena. Nuoremmat kommentoijat ihastelevat Busterin fyysisyyttä ja vertaavat sitä balettiin. Jon Watts piti silmillään näytellyttä Keatonia esikuvana uusimmalle Spider-Manille.

Bogdanovich esittelee ensin lyhytfilmit ja sitten Keatonin alamäen. Tuotantoyhtiön myynnin jälkeen itsenäisestä tekijästä tuli MGM:n renki ja laatu putosi, mutta lopussa palataan pitkiin ohjauksiin, Keatonin tusinaan, joka toimii testinä katsojalle. Jos naurattaa, on yhä elossa. (HB)

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