Monday, March 24, 2008
Anthony Lane does his usual mellifluous corrective to David Denby's chapter-length ponderosities on canonical filmmakers, this time on David Lean, to whom I alluded rather snarkily in my Anthony Minghella obit post last week. I mean, so what -- we can use more ambitious middlebrow directors (I like Soderbergh, but no). My own favorite of his work is 1955's Summertime, starring a still in-bloom Katherine Hepburn as a spinster romanced by Rossano Brazzi in a sparkling Venice that bears no trace of Thomas Mann. Lane's right that plot and sex mattered less to Lean than shattering the carapaces of really uptight Britishes (Pauline Kael on Lawrence of Arabia: "If you went to see it under the delusion that it was going to be about T.E. Lawrence, you probably stayed to enjoy the vastness of the desert and the pleasures of the senses that a huge movie epic can provide"); but if art is in large part representation then Lean's films showed the English -- the rest of the world even -- how they wanted to see themselves. You can't say it was a generational thing either: David Bowie obviously studied Peter O'Toole's epicene moos.
Posted by Alfred Soto at 7:18 PM