Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Freddie Francis: 1917-2007; Mel 'Foot in Mouth Disease' Gibson strikes again!

Too much to blog about, not enough time to do justice to 'em. Well, I'll try:

David Hudson's Greencine tribute to Freddie Francis (1917-2007) is about as varied and comprehensive a site on all matters concerning the life and passing of a great cinematographer.

Difficult to add much more--except to note that arguably two of the most memorable moments in his incredible oeuvre stay foremost in my mind: first, the blurry, indistinct ghosts in The Innocents (1961), which Francis lensed, proving definitively that it's not what you see but what you think you saw but can't be absolutely sure you did that unsettles us; uncertainty unsettles us.

Second are the spinning shapes that prance onstage in The Elephant Man (1980)--for a stronger expression of exuberance, I can't think of a better example; the fuzziness through which they're seen helps convey a feeling of dreaminess, of dim traces of a happy childhood memory, bubbling up from the subconscious. A cinematographer is often honored and remembered for giving us crisp, vivid imagery; Francis did, much of the time, but on at least these two occasions, he did more by blurring the images, evoking two diametrical extremes of emotion--absolute fear, and absolute joy.

And the latest from Melvinland--Gibson tells Central American Studies professor to fuck off.

And again, don't feel I've much to add to that, except the following points:

1) Hooray for Ms. Estrada--the woman has guts, and she follows in a long tradition of dramatic protests. A few headlines should serve to call more notice to the movie's racism, and the Mayans' rejection of it.

2) As for Gibson--not surprised. At all.

3) Why would CSUN screen Apocalypto and more, invite Gibson to speak? Did they think he had something to teach them? If I were a film professor, I'd keep my young ones very, very far away from Gibson.

4) "Make your own movie!" Nice parting shot. It's their culture he appropriated and slandered; didn't he think they would try a little payback?

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