Along with Paths Of Glory this is probably one of the most infuriating and rage inducing films I’ve ever seen. I adore it, easily one of my favourite Welles films sitting just below Touch Of Evil, and I’ve watched it a lot. It never fails to anger me with how raw and real and plausible it feels. It helps that like Paths Of Glory it is a work of supreme cinematic art.
Seriously, where is the daring in cinema now? This looks spectacular, each composition is peerless, flawless, flooring me with its power and depth of meaning.
Perkins is sublime, perfectly cast and the film moves along at such a slow pace that it all becomes confusing, and drawn out. Welles is storming, as usual and Romy Schneider is wonderful as the pale, callow, institutionalised maid/nurse/object of Welles’ beguiling, brusque and confounding Advocate.
I showed it to my students this morning, I am not sure how it went down, but one afterwards said she got confused, and wanted it to be over.
I told her that is the point. That’s what the system, what society be it corporations, bureaucrats, bullies, the government want. They want us to give up, to lose hope and resign to control. Most would say they don’t want a film that makes them feel that way, I say I want a film that reminds me life feels that way sometimes, if we let it.