THE OPINION OF THE “WORLD” – TO SEE
Nowadays, famous actors are no longer so much mysterious, indecipherable and untouchable stars. They deliver their manias on the couch of American presenter Oprah Winfrey, share their breakfasts on social networks and support great causes by evoking their own. They are part of current affairs, and the cinema likes nothing more than to play with their private lives by hiring “népo babies” (népo for nepotism, sons and daughters of, to whom the New YorkMagazine has just devoted its “one”) and amateurs spotted by wild casting precisely because their daily life resembles that of the characters. A number of directors, in the cinema as in the theatre, devote a cult to improvisation, privileging the words of their interpreters to those which are already written, and invoke the Stanislavski method, defined by Lee Strasbergdirector of the Actors Studio in the late 1960s, as follows: “Bring the character to you and not the other way around. »
Against the current, the documentary By hearts, filmed at the Festival d’Avignon in July 2021, returns to the powers of the text: Isabelle Huppert and Fabrice Luchini, two fellow travelers of Benoît Jacquot, already reunited in No scandal, in 1999, made it their mission to place themselves entirely at the service of authors. For her, in the precision of “by heart”. For him, in his ability to make the meaning of sentences perceptible. A common goal: to disappear behind the texts to deliver them in their original purity. It goes without saying that it can only be a failure… All the interest of the film lies in this permanent tension: how two actors who are so recognizable, to the point of talking about “Films of Isabelle Huppert” and “phrasing Luchini”can they reduce to zero?
On the eve of the premiere of The Cherry Orchard, by Chekhov, Huppert stumbles over a line that ends up becoming his obsession. She methodically repeats the passage that she is unable to memorize, like a nun who murmurs the same prayer to push back the drama… but the hole occurs on stage. A monumental hole. Rarely has a camera made visible the resistance of an interpreter to words that are not hers. This is Diderot’s famous comedian’s paradox. How to play in cold blood when his sensitivity disobeys the text?
The second part of the film moves a little further south of the Provençal city, in the courtyard of the Calvet Museum, where Fabrice Luchini is preparing to give two exclusive performances of his solo performance around Nietzsche, from whom he will read and comment on selected texts. In 1998, Benoît Jacquot had already taken an interest in his way of working on the transition from the written to the said, during performances around La Fontaine, Céline and Flaubert.
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“By heart”: Isabelle Huppert and Fabrice Luchini entirely at the service of authors
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