O homem que criou o homem que matou o facínoraComo a dor de cabeça me impede de escrever e os comentários andam raros, vem a calhar a publicação desses três trechos de "John Ford - The Man and his Movies", de Tag Gallagher _ um dos cinco livros que estou lendo, quando há tempo:
"Ford’s artistic leap resulted from marriage of his vignette style with Murnau’s atmosphere-enriching expressionism. This marriage of 'turn' with composition greatly intensified rapport between character and milieu, and soon blossomed into a theme that dominates Ford’s work: milieu, through tradition, duty and ritual, determines individual character. Similar themes occur in many Hollywood expressionists, and in much of the era’s literature as well. What is distinctive in Ford is his juxtaposition of disparate moods, styles, and characters — suggesting a variety of possibilities, which, in turn, imply an off-setting modicum of freedom; and soon the Fordian hero emerges to moderate further the worst ravages of determinism. Ford aimed, moreover, for empathetic understanding from his audiences; satire was not an end in itself, nor the sort of identification and sensationalism one finds in, say, Hitchcock. (...) Ford’s richness thus is due to dialectical tensions at almost every level: between audience and film, between themes, emotions, compositional ideas. Not surprisingly, the fundamental Ford composition is a person acting freely within a geometric space -- a formalization of a central mystery of Christianity, our terrifying freedom within a deterministic world. 'Tout le monde a ses raisons', says Renoir famously in 'La Règle du jeu'. Ford makes the same point visually cutting from one cameo to another."
"Ford was enchanted by the intense stylization of Murnau’s painterly invention, in which a character’s conscious rapport with his physical world seemed suddenly palpable (...). Ford’s movies had been relatively unstylized. But henceforth lighting creates dramatic mood through shafts of light, chiaroscuro, mists and fog and nets. Scenery, too, sometimes distorted from everyday norm, becomes dramatically active — not just a passive container. Actors, their gestures formerly natural, now often calculate the specific mood-effect of each movement and become sculpture in motion. They themselves are more curved, pliable, rotund, fleshy. And compositions, camera movements, and montage, previously pretty, logical, and rudimentary, now aspire to expressive force. The camera becomes a narrating persona, activating a compelling distance between frame and image. 'Cinema', writes Éric Rohmer of Murnau, 'organizes space as music organizes time, taking that total possession of space that music takes of time.…[Cinema] organizes emotion’s disorder. [So that, inserted into cinematic space, a gesture of] man’s internal tumult affirms his profound affinity with the rhythms of the universe'. These ways of articulating ideas, impressions and emotions became what, for convenience, we label Ford’s 'expressionism' (…) 'expressionism' (small e) has survived to designate all in cinema that is not 'realist'; expressionism is concerned with the subjective or poetic aspect of things, and is virtually synonymous with 'style'. 'Subjectivity' implies meaning and emotion imposed by form. 'Reality', on the other hand, is by definition meaningless and emotionless; thus filmic realism is, in theory, styleless. Most major directors combine style and reality."
"Expressionism had originated as a means to externalize psychology. And Murnau found that, just as detail and atmosphere could intensify 'thereness' and give 'soul' to water and trees, so too they could deepen the personality and realism of characters. That his characters, like virtually all twenties expressionist ones, were fairly simple souls, and that his 'cinema of presence' stayed on their exterior, suited interwar popularist doctrine, which tended to view exteriority as determinant of man’s ethnic (and even personal) identity, and which lauded representation of common-man group consciousness ('social realism') as art’s highest representation. Twodimensionality was less important than elucidation of determining social mechanisms.
These attitudes influenced a generation of moviemakers, for all of whom drama lay in the relation between society and the alienated (separated) individual. For 'Jansenists', like Eisenstein, Lang, Hitchcock, and Vidor, bad political, social or economic systems have been imposed on basically innocent humanity and cause individuals to become alienated — divorced from the community — which is bad. In Eisenstein, such systems encourage people’s worst traits and punish their good ones, but in the long run virtuous ideas will win out. In Lang and Hitchcock, alienation leads people into greater misery and lunacy, away from community, where alone there is hope for security and happiness. In Vidor, alienation incites a search for individual answers to universal questions, but what is learned is that answers can only be realized within the family fold.
In contrast, generally for 'Franciscans' like Ford, Murnau, and von Sternberg, hope (and fault) lies in the individual rather than in the community. Alienation refers not to the malicious pettiness of everyday life but rather to a critical dialectic of consciousness whereby the individual may rise above his culture _ which is good; group consciousness and conventional wisdom enslave society to neurosis, intolerance and war. The alienating dialectic may take the form of love, power or wisdom. In Murnau, love sets individuals apart, but in 'Tabu' their culture destroys the lovers, and without malice. In Sternberg, love makes people saints, power makes them monsters; his Dietrich characters (somewhat like the Ford hero) perceive more truly the nature of things — for better or worse. Symptomatically, Lang and Eisenstein heroes — Siegfried, Freder, Jr., Nefsky — and even Hitchcock ones (although Vidor rejects heroism entirely) tend to be paragons of simplicity personifying common-man purity, whereas their villains and victims tend to be complex. Only the most symbolic villains are simple in Ford, Murnau, and Sternberg; their heroes tend to be paragons of anguished complexity — Tabu's lovers, Shanghai Lily, X-27, Blonde Venus. In Ford, Cheyenne Harry ('Straight Shooting') undergoes such traumas of alienation on his way toward moral responsibility that he turns completely against everything he formerly stood for and ends by exiling himself even from the love that initially ignited his alienation."