Thanks for the Use of the Hall - Archive

This archive contains posts from May 2007 to November 2008. More recent posts are at: http://sallitt.blogspot.com

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Rossellini and Drama

While watching Rossellini's A Pilot Returns tonight (rather good, despite an unremarkable first half hour), it occurred to me that Rossellini creates what might be called "partial drama." Rossellini often works with dramatic, even melodramatic, material, and creates audience expectations about important events on the way. (One of the things in his films that amps up the drama is his brother Renzo's music, which is often sweeping and insistent.) But then the important event is often robbed of its full emphasis: a cut will take away too much connecting material, or the payoff speeds up and leaves us in the aftermath. Some viewers come to the conclusion that Rossellini is a crude director because of these stuttering, hasty climaxes. At any rate, the effect depends on Rossellini observing the letter of the dramatic contract, but not its spirit.

I posted some further thoughts on Rossellini on a_film_by after last fall's retrospective at MOMA.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Commenting on your own posts is like talking to yourself.... Anyway, I think in retrospect that I was being a little facile by saying, "Some viewers come to the conclusion that Rossellini is a crude director because of these stuttering, hasty climaxes." There is something crude about the way Rossellini short-changes his dramatic payoffs: I often find it quite moving, but I don't mean to give the impression that the effect is always meticulously crafted, because I'm not sure that it is.

June 17, 2007 at 12:52 PM  

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