Monday, August 20, 2012

Screening Log: I'm in Love! Edition

No notes for this week. Please note that /brackets/ represent films I’ve already seen.

-A Perfect World, 1993. Directed by Clint Eastwood. 35mm projection at Museum of Modern Art.
-The Truth About Charlie, 2002. Directed by Jonathan Demme. DVD.
-Million Dollar Legs, 1932. Directed by Edward F. Cline. 35mm projection at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
-The Bank Dick, 1940. Directed by Edward F. Cline. 35mm projection at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
-Casque D’Or, 1952. Directed by Jacques Becker. 35mm projection at Film Forum.
-Charade, 1963. Directed by Stanley Donen. DVD.
-/North By Northwest/, 1959. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Screened on Turner Classic Movies.

            What is it about Aubrey Hepburn? Yes she was a superstar probably better known for her fashion and persona than her movies, but she strikes me as a delightful actress with pure conviction, and reminded me of another actor who was unfairly maligned until recently: Channing Tatum. Both Hepburn and Tatum have quality few actors can replicate: doe-eyed honestly. It’s a rare quality that often actors refuse to use because instead of showing layers, it putting it all onto the surface. There’s nothing underneath and thus there’s nothing being processed, so the actor isn’t working to his or her full potential. But as Tatum and Hepburn have shown, it’s a quality that is even rarer because it requires one to embrace one’s true self on camera.

            Hepburn dazzles throughout Charade, the Stanley Donen spy comedy in which she falls in love with Cary Grant. With her gorgeous eyes and lightness of her tone, you totally understand why a character like this would fall into the spy games of others. She’s too naïve to know any better, and when she gets a look at Grant’s dashing face, how can she not fall in love?

            Her anger might be more of a pout, but its reflective of her character, Regina Lambert, to not know how to be truly angry. She’s a silly little girl who fell into a marriage she didn’t quite like, one that makes Grant buy her ice cream like she’s still daddy’s little girl. Hepburn totally embraces every aspect of her character. A more “refined” actress would try and give her more bite, and a more ferocious sexuality. Hepburn doesn’t and the film works for it. Consider the sequence in which Regina wants Grant to shower in her room. Why? Cause she’s a sex-kitten, and she doesn’t hide it in her face. She almost doesn’t understand what sex is she’s that innocent (“Why are you taking your shoes off?” “You want me to shower with them on?”). 

There’s a sexuality to Hepburn, but not the kind that had my mind running wild in naughty ways. Instead, I imagined myself taking Hepburn around the park or through a walk along the Seine. Early in the film, Grant asks her why she’s not at the spot where they were supposed to meet, and Regina says the laughter of the children caught her curiosity. Hepburn’s not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, because it’s clear she’s not going to save anyone from their own problems any time soon. But she’s the type of girl you’d just love to take care of and get lost on a Parisian adventure. Those big flashing eyes say it all; she’s always looking for a storybook romance.

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