Here's one of my co-blogger's favorite film writers, on a director whose influence on other filmmakers far exceeds his fame with moviegoers. A key influence on Pedro Almodovar's latest is obviously George Franju's "Eyes Withou a Face." But we can also add Almodovar to a long list of directorial Melvilians that includes Jean-Luc Godard and John Woo.
Here’s how Banderas described his recent shoot with Almodóvar:C.I.: TOH.There’s no point to giving your opinion…. How many times did I hear him say, “The ideas are my business. Be happy with acting them correctly.”...one of the key influences in the contemporary cinema—especially the more commercially viable specimens of the European cinema—is Jean-Pierre Melville, whose film “The Red Circle” Almodóvar asked Banderas to watch—as a result of which, Théate writes, “the actor did everything he could to resemble Alain Delon,” Melville’s star. Banderas explains:
Like him, I didn’t want anything to be read on my face. I had to become the opposite of myself—glacial, calculating, everything restrained and economical. It wasn’t always easy.I think it’s safe to say that Melville’s name will be invoked on several forthcoming occasions in the next little while; last year, it was also often cited regarding Anton Corbijn’s film “The American,” and, at that time, I wrote here about the connection. In the sixties, Melville wasn’t very happy with the way the cinema or the world was going, and his films are laced with his aching sense of loss. I’m not sure whether those who borrow his styles now—even when they do so with a comparable nostalgia for an earlier era of cinema—catch the same pathos of untimeliness, because, unlike Melville, they haven’t personally experienced the era they miss. He saw a whole world vanish before his eyes—and, ironically, was credited with encouraging and abetting the revolutionaries in their plot (i.e., the French New Wave).