Monday, August 4, 2008

Isabelle Huppert and Dead Russian Writers

Isabelle Huppert reclaims bathroom encounters for heterosexuals in The Piano Teacher

If you'll permit me to act like a squealing fangirl for a moment, I've gotta get this off my chest: Isabelle Huppert is God. I challenge you to watch La Cérémonie and The Piano Teacher (or Gabrielle, though that's better left to the advanced Huppert viewer) and disagree. Or watch her cry in anything (the final moments of Merci pour le chocolat immediately come to mind) and tell me I'm wrong. There has never been an actress like her; she is formidable in ways that defy description. Her face is somehow capable of doing things other actors can only dream about -- and most of them aren't even imaginative enough to do that. We're talking about an actress who, using only her eyes, can tell you more in two seconds than entire movies with casts full of big-name actors and armies of uncredited screenwriters and a mercurial director and tens of millions of dollars worth of CGI effects couldn't begin to tell you in three hours.

Not only that, I'm pretty sure she has magical powers. She can probably transport things across the room just by looking at them, or cure people of insomnia by snapping her fingers. That's the vibe she gives off in every movie she makes -- it's impossible to think there's anything she can't do. In today's Independent, she sounds off on a variety of topics, including her part in Joachim Lafosse's Private Property (and she's right that the film isn't focused enough on her character, though it's still very much worth seeing), whether David O. Russell deserved Lily Tomlin's wrath on the set of I Heart Huckabees (naturally, the answer is yes), and current acting trends. Speaking of which, when Huppert told reporter Kaleem Aftab that:
"Because of the current fashion for biopics, in the past few years there is this view that acting is the ability to be someone else, which I don't think it is. Now, the more visible a performance, the better people think it is."
How much you want to bet she considered mumbling Marion Cotillard's name under her breath?

In literary news...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has died in Moscow at the age of 89, and the Times responded by publishing an obituary that is almost as long as A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Check out the accompanying slide show for nine amazing pictures of Solzhenitsyn's rockin' beard.

And in 'Someone please tell my grandpa about this' news ...

Did you know there's a "Jewish HBO?" Neither did I, but now I gotta find a way to get my local cable company to carry it. You see, my grandfather has been a little bored with Turner Classic Movies and The History Channel lately, and he's under the mistaken impression that when he can't find anything to do, it's up to the rest of us to entertain him. I love him and everything, but if that retired bastard calls me at work one more time in the middle of the day to ask what I'm doing, I might have to throttle him.

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