mardi 21 mars 2006

Sidney Lumet, 81 and going

Article très sympa sur Sydney Lumet, le genre de bon article bien équilibré, qui touche à la personnalité du sujet juste ce qu'il faut pour dépeindre son travail, et surtout sans la prétention d'avoir fait le tour du personnage, psychanalysé son existence sociale. En France je ne vois guère ça que dans les pages Portrait de Libé.
Not all of his features are set in New York but, by far, the most successful are.

"I've never analyzed it. I would guess if you grow up poor in this city you get a sense of drama on every block. When I was a kid -- I grew up on two Jewish blocks of the East Side -- you were in trouble if you left those two blocks because in one direction you were in an Irish neighborhood and two blocks in the other and you were in an Italian one. You had a sense that conflict exists everywhere. You're into a world that's physical, that's violent," says Lumet. [...]

But of course, not all of his films have been set in New York, sometimes with lesser results. "I won't knowingly make a bad picture," Lumet says, "but you can talk yourself into anything. One picture I did because there was a house I just wanted to buy so badly and the fee exactly covered the down payment. I won't tell you which one, but it's my 'mortgage picture.' "

Hmmm, was it the 1970s films "Equus" and "Last of the Mobile Hot Shots" or 1966's "The Group"? Or possibly -- this is so un-Sidney Lumet -- 1974's "Murder on the Orient Express"?

"I had [botched] up two pictures because I did not have a sense of comedy. I won't name them. I didn't get the souffle of comedy. I couldn't ever get it light enough." (Not a strange admission from the maker of "The Pawnbroker," one of the heaviest movies ever made, and one of the first to deal with the Holocaust.) "When 'Murder' came along, I thought, I'm going to learn it now or go down in flames. I can promise you 'Network' would not have been so good if I had not done 'Murder.' That spirit of levity is something I had to teach myself, painfully."

Stephen Hunter - Washington Post Mar. 16th

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