Monday, December 15, 2008

Samuel Beckett Meets Buster Keaton

Film (1965) by Samuel Beckett. Starring Buster Keaton.

"The greatest Irish film." – Gilles Deleuze
(Essays Critical and Clinical, University of Minnesota Press, 1997.)

[Note: Don't adjust your speakers. There is no sound, except for one brief moment.]

Cinematographer Boris Kaufman, brother of famous Soviet director Dziga Vertov, also did the cinematography for Jean Vigo's luminous L'Atalante, and for classic Hollywood films such as 12 Angry Men and On the Waterfront, for which he won an Academy Award.

Film was shot in Lower Manhattan on Beckett's only visit to the United States.


John Schertzer said...

I've been meaning to see this, but if Deleuze liked it, by all means I'm running off to the library right away! :)

(Deleuze was one of the folks who helped warp my mind to the ridiculous shape it's in now, in fact Beckett had a hand in that as well)

cowboyangel said...

Well, you can get a library copy to watch at home, but that's the entire film that I've posted. It's only 18 minutes.

Deleuze AND Beckett - that does explain a lot. :-)

Liam said...

I've always wanted to see that. Unsurprisingly disturbing.

crystal said...

Disturbing is the word that comes to mind for me too.

cowboyangel said...

That's what I'm here for - to disturb.

Notice how similar the opening shot of the eye is to the famous scene in Chien Anndalou. If you've seen that film, then the opening of this one is extra disturbing, because you're just waiting for a razor blade or something equally terrible to take place.

I think the cinematography is amazing. The fine details. I love Keaton trying to avoid the mirror.

Lodo Grdzak said...

That was a heck of a movie, though I find it hard to believe that "its Ireland's greatest film." Course I don't know too many Irish movies, sooo maybe. I kept waiting for that moment of sound you mentioned by I never heard it. I thought it was gonna surprise or shock me.

Jeff said...

Quite a different role for Buster. That was pretty cool, and I liked the lighting and the Chien similarities, but...

"The greatest Irish film."

I'm not sure how to think about that. What do you compare it to? It's almost like saying the greatest Irish tango, or the greatest Irish Pinot Blanc. The greatest Irish veal scallopini, the greatest Irish bebop, etc.... Know what I mean?

cowboyangel said...

Lodo and Jeff,

I think "the greatest Irish film" is just Deleuze being Deleuze. I'm guessing he's talking about Beckett capturing something deep about Irish culture in this piece.

Then again, I really don't know. I just thought it was a funny quote.