The image of man

A few weeks ago, I spotted The Godfather trilogy on television. The reviewing did not change my impression of either the story or the talent of Coppola, Brando, De Niro, Pacino, etc. But wait a minute! Isn’t this Franco Citti, the famous Accattone? What is he doing here in a Hollywood epic?

It turns out that I was prejudiced toward what an actor/actress can be associated with a certain sub-category of the cinema. These categories exist in our mind, for sure, but they are not necessarily the same for an actor agency. What I perceive as totally incompatible are in fact totally compatible. The proof? A very same person, the most concrete reality before any analytical conceptive intervention, can appear in both of them and remain convincingly vivid.

Last night, when I was looking at Hannah and Her Sisters, I had a similar revelation. This time, however, the link established by the person actually confirms a hypothetic link between two “compatible” phenomena. I am talking about Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. Did you notice that she appeared as an assistant to the television show producer, played by nobody else but Woody Allen?

It has been long pointed out the connection between these two. I have mentioned elsewhere that Seinfeld has some aspects of an auteur television. I realize this claim may create serious theoretical problems for the auteur adherents. But hell! Desplechin is on my side.

I expect the same thing will happen more and more often, when I get to know the faces better. Ultimately any mediocre production would be like a revelation which tells me not only more about this particular face, but all the stories associated with it. This is a typical cinéphile passion, one says. And rightly so. Because there is something essential, mysterious behind this passion that cares about the screen presence—what is the image of man?


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