Manny Farber

Farber, meu crítico de cinema favorito, morreu ontem. Tinha 91 anos e não escrevia desde 1977, mas seguia com sua carreira de pintor.Aqui um link para um artigo do Jonathan Rosenbaum sobre sua relaçaõ com Farber, e abaixo republico uma sério de excertos que já tinha postado aqui no blog:

Hawks (69)

A director who made at least twenty box-office gold mines since 1926 is going to repeat himself, but the fact is that Howard Hawk’s films are as different as they’re similar. In each action film, he’s powerfully interested in the fraternal groups that he sets up, sticking to them with an undemonstrative camera that is always eye level and acute on intimate business, and using stories that have a straight-ahead motion and develop within a short span. The point is that each picture has a widely different impact: from the sulphurous lighting and feverish style of Scarface to the ignorant blustering of John Wayne in a soft Western that doesn’t have any pace at all.

Chaga de Fogo (51)

Question: Could misanthropic filmmakers peddle this nonsense without a Douglas – or, before him, a Widmark, or, before that, a Muni – to serve as chief huckster?

But it plays the same hoax on its audience, transforming a sordid locale with full-color effects that seem so wrong one suspects a writer and director of selling out everything they know in order to dislodge the spectator’s eyeballs – and reason.

Don Siegel (69)

Siegel has a way of suggesting chains of rapport and intimate knowledge, from a police commissioner down to the pimp and teenaged thrill addict in the hinterlands of Brooklyn. Much of the interest comes from the swift connection between weirdly separated types. A Tough Manhattan prostitute walks into the hotel room of a just arrived Phoenix cop: “Hi, sugar, will you zip me up?” The opening of Coogan’s Bluff is a slambang parody of Kubrick’s 2001 start: space-devouring images, a sheriff’s jeep whipping across the desert floor, and a revaged-faced Indian hopping around hills, setting up his arsenal to destroy the world as the jeep approaches. The first line of dialogue has a funny intimacy that establishes the sheriff’s snide antihero character in seven small words: “Ok chief, put your pants back on” and the pants fly into the shot, landing at the feet of a most eccentric Apache – very stocky, battered face, hair cut with a tomahawk.

Samuel Fuller (69)

Fuller is typically enthralled by material that George Stevens or Capra would consider hopelessly drab. He makes great scenes out of an aged woman¿s talk about her fatigue. A conventional scene of spies questioning an unwitting accomplice becomes the meanest hotel scene, reminiscent of Diane Arbus’s camera eye, her obsession with pickin-up the down side of American life.

Federico Fellini (66)

Fellini is the only enthusiast for old Hollywood Muzak who doesn’t believe in syncopation or its absence. A sort of mentholated accordion sound (like rain with dead raindrops) is bent forward and moved fast, but it doesn’t have any beat.

Richard Burton em Quem Tem Medo de Virginia Woolf? (66)

That the all-important George name is screamed, belched, panted at a non-George shows once again that movies must not be read as stories. The mangled name (even Miss Taylor yowls or jowls it, seeming not to know who it belongs to) is never acted by its supposed owner, a cyclonic acting-machine named Richard Burton. Burton is pleasing, but the emerging character is not Albee’s, or Martha’s, George. This is not to say that Burton, who is far ahead of his co-workers in this movie, doesn’t add up to intensely absorbing , complex terrain. Alongside the mushy Taylor performance, Burton is without self-consciousness as a drinker, and, unlike his wife, who moves like a three-dimensional playing card, he fills a scene with body, talk, face. Everything flows around Burton, though at no point is he a masochistic, mediocre ultimate in soft, ineffectual husbands.

Meu Ódio será tua Herança (69)

What is unique in The Wild Bunch is its fanatic dedication to the way children, soldiers, Mexicans looked in the small border towns during the closing years of the frontier. An electric thrill seems to go through the theater when Lucien Ballard’s camera focuses on groups of kids: two pale blonde children, straight and sort of stiff, holding on to each other in the midst of a gun holocaust. There are others crouched down next to buildings, staring out and crying. It’s remarkable enough to focus on kids in shoot-en-up, but the Ballard-Peckinpah team, without condescending to the Amishlike children, get this electricity with positions, the coloring of hair, hats. These rough Pershing uniforms have being in westerns like Rossen’s Cordura, but here there is a crazy fanaticism woven into the cloth and shapes.

Sem Destino (69)

The film is voyeurish, fondling showcase for two new beautifully tanned nonactors, a nice unpretentious boy, and a blonde slim animal who barely accompanies her clothes through a whitewashed Antonioni island.

Jean-Luc Godard (69)

As always, Godard’s soundtrack is distinctive: sporadic, unsettling, and, as with the visual material, apt to issue from any source. Does anyone else use sound as totally filmic weapon?

Jean-Marie Straub e Danielle Hulliet (75)

In the past, this forbiddingly austere filmmakers – who have found a way in films to illustrate the conflict between the necessity to understand one’s own time in social and economic terms, and the infinity of silence toward which great art tends – have made the soundtrack the major element in their films. The delicious and joyful Moses and Aaron, however, is a very sensual experience, from its voluptuous 360-degree pan around the oval shaped Roman arena in the Abruzzi mountains to the Cezanne-like sculptural insistences which make every crack in the arena’s walls seem extraordinary, a physical reality that reverberates in the mind.

Taxi Driver (77)

Taxi Driver is always asserting the power of playing both sides at the box-office dollar: obeisance to the box-office provens, such as concluding on a ten-minute massacre, a sex motive, good guys vs. bad guys violence, and casting the obviously charismatic De Niro to play a psychotic racist nobody. On the other coin side, it’s ravishing the auteur box of sixties best scenes, from Hitchcock’s reverse track down a staircase from the Frenzy brutality, though Godard’s handwriting gig flashed across the entire screen, to several Mike Snow inventions. One thing that stands out is that many of the new demons in Hollywood are flourishing inside a Bastardism. They are still deep within the Industry and its Star-Genre hypocrisies, and at the same time they have been indelibly touched by the process-oriented innovations which began with Breathless. The result: a new hybrid film that crosses a mythcized genre film with a mushroomed aestheticism which (while skimping the material of psychosis, prostitution, taxi work, the celebrity urge) shows a new sophistication about pace, camera, and organizing. It’s revealing that the Taxi Driver political scenes – from the office comedy between Shepard and Albert Brooks to the speech in Columbus circle – are very bland and stock. Why should a movie that is so anti-American go so dull when it hits a glib phony populist running for President? Busy building the old loner character who never asks for anything, NYC as a dead sea of garbage in the Fritz Lang manner, the girl-boy gag charm from the screwball era, the crew’s mind comes up empty one the film’s one area that rises above the working-class milieu, that is free of the city as sewer metaphor. Empty politics are more of an US tragedy than the lone assassin. Why is all the attention going toward the De Niro charm as displaced country boy who is out of his depth, unless the authors are obsessed by Industry staples?

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