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Monthly Archives: August 2012
I was interviewed by Estado de Minas, the largest newspaper in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, shortly before and in connection with my plans to teach a ten-hour course on Charlie Chaplin there in mid-August 2012. (They ran some of my comments on criticism but omitted what I had to say about Chaplin.) Here are their questions and my responses….The first photo below shows Chaplin in a London film studio with Cy Endfield (on the left). — J.R.
1. Questions about Chaplin:
Why do we still love Charlie Chaplin? What makes him so relevant in 2012?
These are questions that I hope my course will help to answer. Right now, one of my main reasons for wishing to teach this course is that I don’t know the answers to these questions.
Why do you think Chaplin must be reintroduced to contemporary filmgoers? Isn’t he universally recognized and understood enough already?
It would be presumptuous of me to speak about whether or not Chaplin is adequately recognized today in Brazil —or, for that matter, in any country that I haven’t visited and/or whose language I neither speak nor read. But to make a generalization based on my experience, I would say that Chaplin tends to be universally recognized today as a great performer, but very widely unrecognized, undervalued, and misunderstood as a filmmaker.… Read more »
1. For me, there have been quite a few surprises in the results of Sight and Sound’s latest ten-best poll of film critics around the world — not so much the displacement of Citizen Kane from first place (which it occupied for half a century, ever since the second poll in 1962) by Vertigo, something that was bound to happen sooner or later, as the first appearance of The Man with a Movie Camera (in eighth place, with 68 votes). And, perhaps most startling of all, seeing Sátántangó tied with Jeanne Dielman, Psycho, and Metropolis (each of which received 64 votes), or seeing Abbas Kiarostami (represented by Close-Up, in 42nd place — in an incongruous six-way tie with Gertrud, Pather Panchali, Pierrot le fou, Playtime, and Some Like It Hot) doing better than Charlie Chaplin (represented by City Lights, in 50th place, tied with La jetée and Ugetsu Monogatari).
“Let’s remember,” Roger Ebert recently blogged, “that all movie lists, even this most-respected one, are ultimately meaningless.” But he goes on to note, correctly, that “In the era of DVD, all of the [50-odd] films on the list are available; in 1952, unless you had unusual resources, most of them could be found only in a few big cities,” which is far from meaningless.… Read more »