I recently watched Truffaut’s Jules And Jim on Ovation. I had seen the film many years ago and I recall being angry, almost outraged at the ending. I won’t give it away for those of you who haven’t seen it. But watching it again recently I found I liked it a hell of a lot! Sometimes this happens to me, maybe it has to do with my state of mind at the time of watching something.
Anyway on rewatching J &J I saw things in Jeanne Moreau’s performance that now made perfect sense to me since I now knew how the film would end. Watch an Ingmar Bergman film, then watch it again. Things that seem mysterious suddenly become perfectly clear, I’m speaking about the motivations of a character in the film. I recall seeing a Bergman film with Erland Josephson, maybe Scenes From A Marriage.
I was puzzled by certain aspects of Josephson’s character’s behavior, I watched the entire film, then for some reason I began to watch it again. Now that I knew what his real motivations were his actions made perfect sense to me. He was completely in character. Bergman and his actors knew their characters intimately from the first frame to the last, it was up to us the audience to catch on. It also makes rewatching a film more rewarding for us , more hidden treasures for us to mine. Of course this kind of filmmaking is very rare, especially today when the mantra is “Manipulate The Audience, Have No Respect For Their Intelligence”.
I recently listened to an interview with Pierre Lhomme, cinematographer on Melville’s L’ Armée des ombres, he says this film could never be made today because it does not manipulate the audience, it allows them to think. Check it out here: http://www.filmforum.org/podcast/mp3/ArmyOfShadowsJan102007.mp3
Just remember the old saying, ” You don’t judge Great Art, it judges you.”