Friday, October 10, 2008
In light of Paulson's lobbying to remove the net capital rule for brokerage firms ( US SEC Clears New Net-Capital Rules For Brokerages - 04/28/2004 ) and then later asking for our own capital to shore up these same institutions, the movie, Pickpocket, caught my attention as an appropriate film to transition away from the news in the Northeast. In the end, the movie was less interesting for the specifics of the story than in how it was telling it - an avoidance of the dramatic, unexpected editing and framing, etc. Paul Schrader has an excellent commentary of the film, which is partially shown below (part 2 of the interview is in a thumbnail at the end). The Fuller / Bresson comparison reminds me of a Jackie Chan interview - after being a stuntman for Bruce Lee for so long and having always to be in the subordinate role, he found his own identity by being what Bruce Lee was not. Jackie was saying (paraphrasing): 'If Bruce is going to be serious, I will be funny; if Bruce kicks high, I will kick low. Whatever Bruce Lee does well, I will do the opposite.' In this case the situation is reversed and Bresson already had a reputation for his particular brand of filmmaking, but perhaps that was worth mentioning. At any rate, though the emotionless storytelling in Pickpocket grabs one's attention, particularly for a person coming from a Disney background, in terms of the visuals of French minimalist movies, the cinematography of Jean Charvein & Henri Decaë in Le Samouraï is probably a bit stronger in a classical sense.
Gary Indiana has a great piece in the liner notes: "Pickpocket, like all of Bresson's films, records the expiration of humane feeling in the modern world, the impossibility of decency in a universe of greed. This is amply illustrated in Au hasard Balthazar (1966), a film about the sufferings of a donkey so painful to watch that if you can see it through without weeping, you deserve to be hit by a Mack truck when you leave the theater. For Bresson, the casual destruction of life, any life, is the damning imperative of the human species."