Friday, 10 September 2010
friday man - Alberto cavalcanti
"Alberto de Almeida Cavalcanti was born in Rio de Janeiro on 6 February 1897, the son of a noted mathematician. He left Brazil at the age of fifteen to study architecture and interior design at the School of Fine Arts in Geneva, from where he moved to Paris to take up work as a set designer in a film studio. As one of a group of young avant-garde artists surrounding Marcel l'Herbier and Louis Delluc, Cavalcanti soon began producing and directing films on his own account, among them the pioneering 'city symphony' Rien que les heures (France, 1926), which reputedly inspired Dziga Vertov's more celebrated Man with a Movie Camera (USSR, 1929). It has been suggested that the key influences at this early stage of Cavalcanti's career came from the French realist tradition and, to a lesser extent, from surrealism". BFI - Alberto Cavalcanti ...Cavalcanti's British work, defying hard-and-fast distinctions between art and entertainment, is arguably his best: it is certainly his most consistent. However, Ian Aitken contends that he lacked the dedicated careerist's political savvy, and that in Britain he was thrown off creative course by the demands of the documentary form and the commercial film industry. He certainly seems to have felt an outsider at both the GPO and Ealing, and indeed in aesthetic terms his contribution to British cinema does have something of a maverick quality. Yet he was clearly a significant mentor to younger colleagues, and it is as a mentor and as a producer that he made a particularly decisive impact."
Dead of Night (1945)
The Dummy - part 1 part 2 part 3
The granddaddy of them all, this 62-year-old Ealing Studios' production remains the subgenre's seminal work. Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer, this sterling British film binds its five tales via the predicament of Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns), who arrives at a manor house and proceeds to inform the guests that they've all been part of his recurring dream; when a psychologist expresses disbelief at this paranormal déjà vu, the other visitors tell personal anecdotes of the supernatural. That this framing device maintains an overpowering sense of mystery and dread up until the superb, descent-into-insanity finale is reason enough to sing "Dead of Night"'s praises. The fact that its individual yarns — including one about a game of hide and seek that leads a young girl to tuck a ghost into bed, and another concerning a race car driver who, after an accident, is visited by death's coachman — are uniformly efficient and inventive helps makes it an enduring classic. Not to mention that, with the incomparably unnerving "The Ventriloquist's Dummy," about a frazzled ventriloquist and his malevolent wooden partner, it set the template for hordes of (generally less scary, stupider) killer-doll imitators. Cavalcanti's story - a talented ventriloquist is driven to attempted murder by his apparently conscious dummy - is eerie and gripping, and features a powerful performance by Michael Redgrave as the troubled and finally unhinged ventriloquist.
Posted by J P at 04:27