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Bogdanovich’s films and our sentimental education in theaters

Peter bogdanovich
Peter bogdanovich

The death of Peter bogdanovich It immediately connected me to my early cinephile upbringing. Two of his films –What’s up doctor? Y Paper moon they had an important place in my preteen years. So much so that the emotional connection with them, when I heard the news, came out of the blue. They were one of the first films that allowed me to peek into an adult world in a different way than what I had seen until then.

Just as they included us as a public without disregard for our age, they did not leave anyone out. They were a popular cinema in the deepest sense of the word. Working from a non-compliant perspective with the standardized genres in the industry, she recovered them to please the public. He also looked at the world from the perspective of the losers, the neglected, the insignificant. And he celebrated each of his little victories.

For that child-adolescent of barely 11 or 12 years old, the cinema appeared in a different dimension than most of what had been seen before. There was an entertaining and intelligent proposal that challenged me from a place other than the children’s or adventure cinema “for the whole family.”

In What’s up doctor? eroticism naive from Barbra Streisand it summoned a look that was unknown until then. Simultaneously, the dizzying physical comedy reproduced that humor almost universally enjoyed by any generation. As in most films by the great masters of humor, the critical gaze was deployed as the original order – the academic, the familiar, and the formal – was shattered by that unique drive that is desire.

What's up, doctor?  (1972)
What’s up, doctor? (1972)

One year later, with Paper moon, the incorporation of a protagonist just a little younger than me fulfilling a prominent role, no longer as a spoiled or abandoned child in a didactic format, was also a novel way of identifying myself in the cinema. She wasn’t just the little rogue, she was a conscious and active con artist. She was a capable girl who could lie and break laws if necessary, without moral conflict turning the film into a moral.

Both were part of the sentimental training of that little movie lover that I was. If today I feel sadness for the death of Bogdanovich, has to do with the immediate memory of those two films, and how they marked my life a few years before the encounter with The Strada, neorealism and The citizen, and long before the discovery of Eisenstein and Russian theorists, expressionism, Resnais, Godard and the black cops.

Some time later, when my first love for movies was a declared cinephilia, this kind of pathology that I will continue to drag as long as I live, I discovered a previous jewel of his cinematography: The last movie. There the very young Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd made their first major roles. In this, his first fiction, there is much of what much of the independent cinema of the world told and tells decades later: the rite of passage from adolescence to youth; the dimension of time almost abandoned to abulia; the future marked by a growing mass consumer society; a culture stripped of love capable of destroying the old cinema; the generational distance, the awakening of desire and the moral gaze.

The Last Movie (1971)
The Last Movie (1971)

Bodganovich, which was in his early 30s at the time, probably anticipated the American auteur cinema of the 1970s, but he also took a first step in an aesthetic project – the use of time, space and performances – that 50 years later is still in force. This film is considered one of the best 100 in the history of US cinema.

To understand this film in the work of the great cinephile that it was, the place occupied by the cinema of the town cannot be ignored. That abandoned room is an idyllic place that, like the youth of the protagonists, seems hopelessly destined to disappear with the passage of time (and with the advent of television).

Cinema as a physical space, as an industry or as a dream place, reappeared in several of his productions: a tribute to the musical in At last love came; the beginnings of the industry in Nickelodeon; Texasville, the film where the characters of The last movie they returned to town 32 years later; The cat’s meow, fiction about the murder of film pioneer Thomas Ince on William Hearst’s yacht, and his latest film, the failed documentary The great buster, about the master of humor Buster Keaton. In turn, his first production was a documentary about John Ford’s cinema.

In 1971, when he filmed The last movie That earned him 8 Oscar nominations and put him in the sights of the international film industry, he was already a renowned critic and essayist. He had professional and personal relationships with Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang, among many great masters of classical cinema.

From that place he became important again in the lives of those of us who were victims of cinephilia in the ’80s and’ 90s. Some of his texts appeared in magazines, photocopies or compilation books. When his cinema stopped attracting us, since his films were not up to the standards of the first, in 1994 he burst into our passionate lives with Citizen Welles, a monumental book of more than 500 pages. There are conversations between the two going through the entire work of the great Orson, with an introduction where Bogdanovich recounts the encounters and intertwines that anecdote with the history and work of the creator of Citizen Kane.

John Huston, Orson Wells and Peter Bogdanovich
John Huston, Orson Wells and Peter Bogdanovich

The book closes with a chronology of the artist’s work, absolutely incredible for the level of detail and format (it looks like a daily schedule of his activities). He recounts almost step by step what he experienced between May 6, 1915, Welles’s birth day, until October 10, 1985, the day on which, as he writes, “OW dies of a heart attack very early in the morning while I was typing up scene instructions for the material I planned to shoot later that day with GG at UCLA. “

About Welles and Ford, perhaps his two most admired filmmakers, he argued “those men really did invent the movies.” In his books of interviews with both directors, he worked, as he himself explained, on the personality of each one and how it manifested itself in their work.

Bogdanovich was in Buenos Aires in 2016 invited by BAFICI and his lectures, masterful in the full sense of the word, summoned an audience that greatly enjoyed his gaze, both loving on films and acid on the film industry and the film business.

“When Peter Bogdanovich came, in 2016, he himself did not understand his role in a festival like this,” the director of BAFICI told us. Javier Porta Fouz, “But when he saw that his talks were made in front of packed halls, and many people were left out of them as if they were a rock star, he realized that this local audience is different from what he had seen in other festivals.” Something of his cinephilia resonated in this city and its people.

In some of the public interviews, she expressed some unease at the lack of filmmakers in the industry, and at the general mistreatment of women. In light of these repeated expressions, perhaps his work could be revised. The female characters, especially in his early films, are the ones who drive the action, set themselves free, monopolize space, dominate the internal scene and take over the screen. It would be interesting to trace from the present, five decades later, her particular gaze on the place of women in the world and in the cinema.

It was also at one of those talks in Buenos Aires in which Bogdanovich left a sentence that shows his acid humor about the film industry. “Making a film is a huge and complicated task, it involves a great expense and a great organization that includes many people,” he explained almost didactically. “I would like people to ask themselves before facing a new production ‘Is this movie really necessary?’. And the answer is generally going to be … No, it isn’t at all, “he concluded.

KEEP READING:

Peter Bogdanovich, one of the great masters of cinema, has died
The 4 must-see films of Peter Bogdanovich
The films of Peter Bogdanovich, the world’s most cinematic filmmaker

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HELEN HERNANDEZ

Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Helen@oicanadian.com Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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