Thursday, July 25, 2013

Print the Fact!


William Witney is a director whose films have given me hours of uncomplicated pleasure. I've always been a great defender of his directorship, especially in movie serials he made in collaboration with John English, among which Adventures of Captain Marvel, probably their most famous work, is a cinematic prelude to all Indiana Jones actioners and even late Fritz Lang adventure films. That's why I encouraged the editor of the first encyclopedia of film directors in Farsi/Persian to include Witney/English among his 1000 chosen names for the book. Convinced by my arguments about the importance of this duo in establishing high standards for low-budget action films, the editor asked me to write the entry myself which I immediately accepted.

William Witney [source: Vimeo]

During the process of researching and writing I learned that Witney is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino and it didn't surprise me. On the contrary, I saw that the exploitative, fast-paced and one-dimensional films of two directors can correspond very well. But recently, after watching Django Unchained, which I loathed, I read Kent Jones' response to a Tarantino interview which showed to me the superstar director of Django has been carried away by his assessment of Witney as the most democratic Western maker, inasmuch as to bash John Ford as someone very un-Witney.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Miles Ahead

آسانسور، جاز و شبي زمستاني
يك آمريكايي (با يك ترومپت) در پاريس
احسان خوش‌بخت

قبل از هرچيز، قبل از لويي مال و حتي قبل از ژن مورو، مايلز ديويس است كه آسانسور به سوي سكوي اعدام را راه مي‌اندازد، يا در واقع آن را، و زمان را، براي موريس رونه و ما متوقف مي‌كند. اولين نُت مايلز روي تاريكي پرده سينما شنيده مي‌شود و بعد نماي آيريسي مثل فيلم‌هاي صامت از چشم‌هاي ژان مورو به كلوزآپي از او در كيوسك تلفن باز مي‌شود. اما حتي بازترين نماي اين عنوان‌بندي هم نشاني از حصر و تنهايي دارد. دريغ از ديده شدنِ حتي گوشي تلفن؛ همه چيز در جهت خيره‌شدن و ستودن مورو سامان يافته. تكرارِ je t'aime كه از هر دو سو گفته مي‌شود مثل نت‌هاي مكمل موسيقي فيلم، سازي مضاعف، عمل مي‌كند. اين آغاز نسخۀ اسپانياييِ آسانسور است كه از نسخۀ اصلي زودتر موسيقي را آغاز مي‌كند (در نسخۀ اصلي، موسيقي بعد از باز شدن نما و كات به موريس رنه مي‌آيد). موسيقي ترومپت‌نواز، آهنگساز و رهبر اركستر سياه‌پوست آمريكايي، مايلز ديويس (1991-1926) ، براي اين فيلم اثري است رمزآميز، محزون، شاعرانه و تكرار نشده در تاريخِ سينما. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Pre-Truffaut Jean-Pierre Léaud


It is widely known and accepted that it was François Truffaut who discovered Jean-Pierre Léaud and gave him the role of the rebel kid in Les quatre cents coups [The 400 Blows]. However, this is far from being true, because just a year before Truffaut's groundbreaking and Cocteau-backed premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Léaud has appeared in the French swashbuckler film La Tour prends garde! (Georges Lampin, 1958), starring Cocteau's lover, Jean Marais.

In this small but unforgettable role, Léaud's jaunty features, his involvement in adult's world and his hunger for an early maturity is well-manifested. Naturally this 14 year-old kid caught monsieur Truffaut's attention and the rest is history.

Film Ads in Iran#22: Richard Fleischer