Sunday, February 11, 2007

Little Insights

There's a nice piece on great performers of noted 2006 movie performances in the Sunday New York Times. The page is here with the photo gallery link, but the text is less compelling than a ten minute video of seven actors talking about "What Was the First Movies That Had a Profound Impact on You?" by Jake Paltrow, a couple minutes each of Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren, Abbie Cornish, Ken Watanabe, Penelope Cruz and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Two things make the actor reminiscences interesting.

For one, they generally reveal good taste. Pitt with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Mirren with L'Avventura, Watanabe with The Deer Hunter, Cruz with Billy Wilder, DiCaprio with the original King Kong.

What makes it even more interesting are the tidbit windows into when they weren't superstars and there were no glimmer of nominations and statuettes, but when they were just like us, trying to figure it out.

So Cate Blanchett knocks the doors open with casual revelation of her father's death in her early childhood, Pitt his family financial and emotional shortcomings, Mirren growing up without television and very sparse moviegoing, Cruz getting hooked via Betamax.

The unadorned b&w style serves the pieces well, which can be viewed by individual actor or as a single show. Run together the silences between the interview over blackouts and titles have an elegiac quality, this mortal coil, a double time-capsule already loosened from the now into history.

Like monuments cast into the wind.

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