Saturday, March 10, 2012
They Had Faces, Then
Sometimes I ask myself, "Have I spent enough time lately thinking about Garbo?" If the answer is "no," I stop and stare at a portrait like this for a while. I really do think one can argue that hers is one of the most architecturally perfect faces known, on a very short list with the likes of Nefertiti and one or two Renaissance grandees.
We finally saw The Artist last night (movies in which things don't explode tend either to take a very long while to arrive here, or they simply never do). I thought it was simply splendid, and of course it stirred up all sorts of things, from childhood memories of my grandmother's descriptions of playing the piano for silents to the great joy that going to repertory houses in New York used to be. How wonderful, I thought, as it started, to see a movie that's shaped right, that starts with credits, that... makes you happy to be at the movies. It's a different experience, going to a movie that respects its audience, that wants it to be happy; you're drawn in, sit up, pay attention. The long, lingering closeups give you the chance to devour the faces, take in the thoughts that flicker across them.
And when the faces look like this - or Jean Dujardin's, for that matter - is it any wonder people thought they were gods?