Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Style as Meaning (Part I)

While I must admit to having found Jun Ichikawa's 2004 film Tony Takitani strangely beautiful, it is additionally remarkable for having so little that is edifying to say about its characters or the world it glances at - the word explores simply doesn't fit. It moved Stanley Kauffmann to write: "The effect is strange: it makes the director the protagonist of his picture. We cannot be much moved or amused by the leading characters: we are held only by the way the picture is made, thus by the intelligence that created this style. Not many of us, I think, would want to see many films made this way, possibly not one more, but this one is an intriguing glance at the director-as-god, deigning to treat human frailty with imperial sway, assuming that his art justifies this slender material." (8.15.05)

What struck me about the comment was how Kauffmann could have been writing about the entire oeuvre of Robert Bresson. To be fair, I found Ichikawa's film more moving for its use of genuine actors.

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