Read Instead…in Print

A photo of a good book about cinema. No discursive, pretentious analyses, no verbose scrutiny. Because the idea is to invite you to read the book, not read about it here. But instead of using social media, I use my journal. Back to basics. Take it as a wish to break free of over-reliance on social media (even if it’s just for posting a photo of a good book) for presenting my work, cultural finds and interests. These are things to be enjoyed as stand-alone pieces in a more substantial and meaningful way than showing them in the black hole of Instagram thronged with an audience with a short attention span. This is also a look through my voluminous collection of books about film that I use as research in my adamant decision to rely less and less on the online and more on more on print materials.

Read Instead…in Print 03: The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando. Reading William J. Mann’s book gave me the impression that he disregarded everything that has been written about Brando before (both in length and content) and that his aim was to finally recount Brando’s story by taking him at his word. I appreciate the non-linear narrative and the fact that this is not a minutiae report on Brando’s life, especially not on his childhood. Instead, his move to New York City, his studying with Stella Adler and his beginnings in theater and the movies receive plenty of coverage and that part I found fascinating. Because those were the years that shaped him as an actor (that shaping never overrode his natural instinct though). When reading a biography or autobiography, I am not seeking to learn everything there is to know about one’s life – I can’t shake up the feeling of prying too much, and Mann becomes very focused on the intimate details at times. I like to separate the person from their talent, but by trying to figure out the person too much, the author seems to want to figure out the actor too much. Should an actor, an artist be figured out? No, I don’t think so. But dropping in in certain moments and roles, I like that, I like those parts of Marlon Brando, the actor: the actor who did not perform, but lived on stage, the actor who didn’t bring just naturalism on screen, but a sense of revolution, the actor who had no desire to be great, but to succeed for himself, the actor who did not act by any “method” (incidentally, he never studied with Lee Strasberg and his Method acting), but from within, the actor who was not a glossy studio product, but the living being of real human experience, but most of all, instinct and his own imagination. There has been just one Marlon Brando.


In conversation with filmmakers: Why movies still need cinemas

Art will set you free: In conversation with photographer Bill Phelps

Read instead…in print: Unquiet

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