Sunday, November 21, 2010

Samuel Beckett Double Feature Two

More films from the Beckett on film box set.

Rough for Theater 2

Timothy Spall and Jim Norton as clerks going over a man's life trying to decide if he's going to be allowed to jump from a window or not.

One of the best films in the Beckett on Film set and one of the best films I've seen in 2010. Its all in the acting and it makes it painfully clear that Beckett needs more than the words to work.

This is a small treasure of a film as the clerks find things in themselves as they look over the life of a man. On some level what the film is showing isn't clear, I don't know who they are or what they represent, they might be in a totalitarian government, or maybe just clerks or they might just be watchers or angels since the man in the window seems frozen in time and oblivious to their presence. Either way it doesn't matter.

This is just a great little film and seeing it was the first time I found real magic in any Beckett plays.

Connor McPherson makes a masterful film about four people at the end of the world dealing with their lives. Two are reduced to legless existence in garbage cans, one is blind and immobile sitting in the center of a great empty room, and one is unable to sit down and is in constant motion waiting for his next task.

Its a darkly bleak film that transcends it's limiting stage origins thanks to being more than just a camera filming a play. To be certain the film never leaves the room that is where it all takes place but at the same time you never really notice since it moves around the room changing perspective, and focus to make a film that is very much a living breathing thing.

I'm very impressed with McPherson as a filmmaker since he'd done something that very few people who've tried to film a Samuel Beckett play has done, namely make it work on film on its own terms.

Its a masterpiece on it's own terms.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention Michael Gambon and David Thewlis as Clov and Hamm who manage, in giving some of the best performances ever put on film, to make acting look easy.

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