April 18, 2017
I'll be posting my recaps from the 2017 TCM Film Festival shortly, but I wanted to share this first. I picked up some souvenirs from the TCM Gift Shop at the festival for a little giveaway! I'm a bit of a souvenir junkie, so shopping in the TCM Boutique is always one of my favorite parts of the trip. When I stayed home during the 2015 fest I definitely felt like I was missing out, since the items aren't available online. So if you missed the festival or just were too busy at TCMFF to drop by the Boutique, this is your chance to get your hands on some festival goodies!
If you win you'll receive a magnet with an image from The Palm Beach Story, the official 2017 festival enamel pin, and a set of postcards featuring the poster artwork from the festival (includes Born Yesterday, The Palm Beach Story, The Jerk, The Graduate, and an image of the Chinese Theater.)
To enter, leave a comment letting me know what you would pick if you could have any movie play at the TCM Film Festival. I'd have a hard time answering this question myself so if you can't narrow it down to one, that's totally okay ;) You can also gain an extra entry by retweeting the giveaway on twitter here. Just leave a second comment letting me know that you retweeted the giveaway. I'll be choosing a winner based on the comments on this post, so if you RT on twitter but don't comment on this post, that entry will not be counted.
I'll randomly select a winner on April 26th.
April 01, 2017
Me trying to plan my TCMFF schedule
This is all bound to change at the drop of a hat, but I've planned out a tentative schedule for my 2017 TCMFF movie-going. Last year I made a lot of last minute decisions, like deciding to get in line for The Conversation (1974) while I was on my way to a different movie, and that impulsiveness has never failed me. There's something almost exhilarating about throwing caution to the wind and lining up for a movie you know absolutely nothing about, and had zero intention of watching until that very moment.
That being said, I still spent an inordinate amount of time circling, crossing things out, double-checking, and rethinking. I have actual anxiety about skipping some of my favorites. When I think about the fact that I'm choosing Panique, a new-to-me French film, over Barefoot in the Park, one of my favorite movies, my heart starts racing and I need to breathe in deeply and repeat my mantra "you care way too much about movies, you care way too much about movies" to calm myself down.
As a Backlot member, I'll be starting Thursday with a Q&A with Ben Mankiewicz at the Chinese Multiplex, House 1, at 9AM. Any Backlot member with a festival pass can attend, so this might be a good time to join up if you haven't already. I asked Ben a question on the 2015 TCM Cruise and he said he needed time to think about it, so if I get to ask a question this time I'm going to see if two years was enough time to come up with an answer ;) After that I'm going to try to get into the 12:30PM tribute to Robert Osborne, also in House 1 at the Multiplex. I'm sure this is going to be a pretty packed house so I hope everyone who wants to attend is able to!
I'm on a Backlot trivia team, so I'll be heading over to The Roosevelt to participate in the first competition at 2PM (wish me luck!) After that I'll be camping out across the street from the red carpet with Millie. It's turned into an annual tradition, trying to guess who's inside each of the blacked-out SUVs pulling up outside the TCL theater. I even bought binoculars this year so maybe I'll catch a zoomed-in view of Sidney Poitier through my specs!
After the red carpet sight-seeing, I'll be high-tailing it over to The Egyptian to catch Love Crazy (1941), a film I haven't seen in ages. I can't think of a better way to start my festival than with William Powell and Myrna Loy on 35mm! And what better way to end the evening than with Hitchcock ON NITRATE?! And early Hitchcock, to boot (my favorite kind of Hitchcock!) The original The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) will be playing at The Egyptian and there's no place I'd rather be.
On to Friday! I'm being ambitious and assuming throughout this whole schedule that I'll be able to drag myself out of bed early enough for 9AM activities every day. Since I'll still be running on Eastern Standard Time I'm holding out hope that my body will believe 9AM is noon. If all goes according to plan, I'll be seated at The Egyptian (again!) bright and early for Rafter Romance (1933). I remember when this lost film was found and broadcast on TCM for the first time several years ago, so getting to see it on a big screen (and in 35mm!) is such a treat! And it's being introduced by Leonard Maltin, who I haven't had the pleasure of seeing at TCMFF yet. After Rafter Romance I'll be staying at The Egyptian (I feel like this is the new Theater 4 this year!) for One Hour With You (1932) a Lubitsch pre-code celebrating its 85th anniversary! Also, another 35mm print! Huzzah!
Next up is the aforementioned movie block that is actually destroying my soul -- Panique vs. Barefoot in the Park. I'm going with Panique (1946) because, as a die-hard Francophile, I can't pass up one of the few foreign films at the festival. But considering Barefoot in the Park was the one film on this year's lineup that made my heart do cartwheels when I saw it on the schedule, this is pretty tough. Panique will be showing at the Multiplex in House 6, and it'll be introduced by Bruce Goldstein, the repertory programmer at my beloved Film Forum. (Sidenote: The Film Forum is going to be doing a Jean-Pierre Melville retrospective this spring and I am legitimately considering booking a hotel room for the week to make sure I don't miss a single film. Melville made just over a dozen films and assuming they play all of them that means THREE Alain Delon films. le sigh!)
But back to TCMFF! After Panique I'll be heading back to ... wait for it... The Egyptian! My rarities research and some recommendations from twitter friends completely sold me on So This is Paris (1926) the silent Lubitsch movie that's never seen a home-video release (not even VHS!) which makes it one of this year's rarest screenings. It'll be showing in 35mm with live piano accompaniment, so it should be a fun experience!
I have a sizable window between this film and the next, so I'll be taking a little dinner break. Food at the festival is a point of contention for me -- a lot of attendees choose to forgo meals in favor of popcorn, snacks, or starvation, but I'd be a miserable movie-goer (not to mention a noisy one!) if my stomach was growling the whole time. If you're eating solo and want some company, use the hashtag #TCMFFdinnerparty on twitter to see if anyone else is free to join you for a meal!
After grabbing a quick bite, I'll be off to that tiniest of theaters, Multiplex House 4, for the Carole Lombard drama Vigil in the Night (1940), being screened on 35mm. I haven't seen this one before but my dad caught it on TCM a few years ago and has been raving about it ever since. I'm looking forward to seeing what the fuss was all about! Plus I get to see my underrated fave Brian Aherne on the big screen! After I exit the theater I'll be circling around and getting right back in line for Cat People (1942), showing an hour later in the same theater. Seeing as how House 4 has a history of interested passholders exceeding the number of available seats, I don't want to take my chances! Cat People is one of my favorites, and I'm making the tough choice to sacrifice Laura (1944) on nitrate to see this spooky delight in 35mm.
I'll be wrapping things up with the midnight screening of Zardoz (1974), a film that I have literally zero interest in seeing, but I've loved the midnight movie experience so much in previous years I simply cannot pass this up. Eraserhead (1977) and Roar (1981) both scarred me for life... I'll report back and let you know how I fare with Zardoz.
Saturday morning I'll be hanging out with Michael Douglas at Multiplex House 1 for a screening of The China Syndrome (1979). I feel like nuclear safety is unfortunately becoming a very topical issue again, so my experience watching this might be much more emotional than it was when I saw it for the first time a few years ago. Next I'll be heading over to Club TCM for a discussion on "The Art of Subtitling" with Bruce Goldstein. I'm so excited about this event! As an obsessive foreign film fan, I'm always interested in different translations of the same dialogue or whoever decided that white text with no stroke on black and white movies would be a good idea! Hopefully I'll gain a lot of insight into the process during this event.
There's a nice long break between The Art of Subtitling and my next movie so I'll probably be hitting up the #TCMFFdinnerparty hashtag a little early to see if anyone wants to grab lunch. I'd like to get a bite to eat at Mel's drive-in on North Highland at least once. I don't see my favorites on their online menu (uh-oh!) but if they still have fresh strawberry shortcake and poached eggs with asparagus, I'll be a happy camper.
After filling up my stomach and possibly taking a small nap, I'll be back in line at the Multiplex (House 6 this time) for Le roi de coeur (King of Hearts) from 1966, one of the other foreign films on the lineup this year. This is a French import from the director of one of my favorite recent discoveries, That Man From Rio (available to rent on Amazon, here.) Star Genevieve Bujold will be in attendance and the print has been restored to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary! I don't want to make any predictions since movies can always catch you off-guard, but I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite new-to-me movies this year.
I'll be finishing up my day with a screening of Black Narcissus (1947) on nitrate at The Egyptian. I'm very excited about this one! I've never seen Black Narcissus, but one of the things that I've always noticed about clips or screenshots is the vibrant and stark use of color. Seeing a film this striking for the first time on nitrate is sure to be a beautiful experience!
On Sunday morning I might take a break from movie-going to do a little flea market shopping (to be determined when I discuss plans with friends, once I arrive in Hollywood) but if I do get to have another 9am date with celluloid, I'll be at Chinese Multiplex House 6 for Cock of the Air (1931). I mentioned this film in my last post, but it bears repeating -- censors cut 12 minutes from this movie, and it was recently restored with voice actors filling in the missing audio. The film isn't currently available on any form of home video, therefore along with 'So This is Paris' it's the rarest of the rare at the 2017 fest. If I miss out on it, I'm hoping it'll be programmed as one of the TBA titles that will be announced on Sunday.
At 11:15am it's Multiplex House 6 again, this time for a Douglas Sirk film starring... Boris Karloff and George Sanders? Count me in! Karloff's daughter, Sara Karloff, will be there in person to introduce Lured (1947). This is one of the "can't miss it!" titles on my schedule. After Lured I have a little over an hour until my next event at Club TCM so I'll be heading over there early to meet up with Raquel and hopefully snag some good seats for Dick Cavett's conversation and book signing. Want to guess my favorite Dick Cavett interview? Surprise, surprise, it's Alain Delon!
The timing is tight here, but assuming I can hop over from Club TCM to Multiplex House 6 quickly enough, my next screening will be Detective Story (1951) with Lee Grant in attendance. I'm trying to branch out and see a lot of films this year that I've never seen before (or even heard of, if possible.) Detective Story doesn't sound like something I'd DVR if it turned up on TCM, but I would never have taped The Conversation (1974) or All That Heaven Allows (1955) and I absolutely loved them both when I took a gamble on them at least year's festival.
And finally, my last movie of the festival will be Lady in the Dark (1944), screening on nitrate at The Egyptian. It seems fitting to end the festival the same way I started -- at The Egyptian with nitrate! My only regret is that Millie will be leaving on Sunday morning and won't get to see her namesake Ray Milland on the big screen.
And that's my tentative plan for next week! Regrets? I've had a few. Namely passing up the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) poolside screening at The Roosevelt with Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Rusty Goffe (the lead Oompa Loompa!), and Paris Themmen (Mike Tee Vee) in attendance, Cry, The Beloved Country (1951) which isn't available to stream or on DVD, Barefoot in the Park (1967) *crying buckets of tears*, and Laura (1944). Schedule conflicts are almost part of the fun at TCMFF though. And, to be honest, I did get to see Laura and Willy Wonka on the big screen recently, so I really can't complain!
Don't forget if you aren't able to attend the festival you can still watch along at home! Just use my handy dandy guide to which movies are streaming online, right here. Also, if you don't have a festival pass but you do live in the Hollywood area, most of the screenings have a standby line where you can buy a single ticket for ~$20 (Half price if you have a student ID or a Backlot membership card!) There's no guarantee that you'll get into a screening, but the chances are much higher at the larger venues like The Egyptian or the TCL Chinese Theater.
Hopefully I'll see you in sunny California in a few days! :)
March 31, 2017
One week from now I'll be camped out in line outside of the Egyptian Theater waiting to see the 85th anniversary screening of Ernst Lubitsch's 'One Hour With You' at the TCM Film Festival. It's one of the few films that I've circled on my schedule in pen, not pencil. It's a definite. I'll be sharing my full schedule later, but for now I wanted to share the online availability options for all of the movies that will be playing at the festival.
My reason for this post is two-fold. For festival-goers (including myself) I wanted to research the scarcity of the films playing at the festival so that I could factor that into my decision-making process. If a movie isn't even available on VHS, that makes it all the more special to see it at TCMFF! Hopefully this information will help anyone else who prioritizes rarity when they're making their selections for the festival.
I also wanted to share this information for everyone who will be following along from home. A good deal of the films are available online to rent or stream free, so if you're unable to attend the festival but would love to join in conversations about the films, know firsthand what festival-goers are talking about when they start joking about the midnight movie screening (it's bound to happen!), or just join in the movie-going fun from the comfort of your own couch, this list should help you out!
The entire line-up is listed below in alphabetical order, but if you want to follow along in real-time and watch the movies as they play at the festival you can view the schedule on the TCM Film Festival website here, or print my printable version of the schedule here.
Before I get to the whole list, here are the rarest films playing at the 2017 festival:
Cock of the Air (1931)
This movie doesn't seem to be available to stream, to rent, on DVD *or* on VHS. It was restored recently, with 12 minutes of censored footage restored in 2016. The audio was missing, so the Academy had actors recreate the dialogue. Here is a behind-the-scenes look into that process.
Cry, The Beloved Country (1951)
I couldn't find this one streaming or on DVD, but there is a VHS listing on Amazon, right here. My pass level doesn't get me into the opening night screening with Sidney Poitier, so I'm tempted to see this one instead.
Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)
This isn't available anywhere yet, but since it has a 2016 release date I'd assume it might be on DVD or streaming sometime later this year. In the meantime, here's a peek at the trailer for the documentary about found film footage!
The Incident (1967)
This doesn't seem to be available to stream legally, and it's only available on Region 2 DVD, here. It is, however, currently uploaded to youtube here... but that might not last very long.
King of Hearts (1966)
Although this is available on DVD here, it appears to be out of print and the only copies seem pretty pricey. An added benefit to seeing this one at TCMFF is that the star, Geneviève Bujold, will be there in person!
Lady in the Dark (1944)
This Ray Milland/Ginger Rogers flick seems nearly impossible to find. The only copy I could come up with was a presumably bootleg DVD on ebay. This is another film that is circled in pen - nay, sharpie! - on my schedule. It's a rare film, and they're showing a nitrate copy, to boot!
One Hour With You (1932)
It's available as part of a Lubitsch box set, here, but it doesn't seem to be available individually or to stream.
So This is Paris (1926)
Totally, completely unavailable. I couldn't find anything except a jpeg of a movie poster. This one actually wasn't even on my radar at first, but now I'm definitely considering skipping The Magic Box in favor of this silent Lubitsch (so much Lubitsch!)
Now, on to the full list!
America, America (1963) - Available to rent on Amazon
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Awful Truth (1937) - Available to rent on Amazon
Barefoot in the Park (1967) - Available to rent on Amazon
Beat the Devil (1953) - Prime Video on Amazon
Best in Show (2000) - Available to rent on Amazon
Black Narcissus (1947) Streaming on FilmStruck and available to rent on Amazon
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - Available to rent on Amazon
Born Yesterday (1950) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957) - Available to rent on Amazon
Broadcast News (1987) - Streaming on HBO and available to rent on Amazon
Bye Bye Birdie (1963) - Available to rent on Amazon
Casablanca (1942) - Available to rent on Amazon
Cat People (1942) - Available to rent on Amazon
The China Syndrome (1979) - Available to rent on Amazon
Cock of the Air (1931) - Unavailable
The Court Jester (1955) - Available to rent on Amazon
Cry, The Beloved Country (1951) - Available on VHS
David and Lisa (1962) - Streaming on Fandor and available to rent on Amazon
Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) - Unavailable
Detective Story (1951) - Available to rent on Amazon
Dr. Strangelove (1964) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Egg and I (1947) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Front Page (1931) - Prime Video on Amazon
The Graduate (1967) - Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon
The Great Dictator (1940) - Streaming on FilmStruck and available to rent on Amazon
Harold and Maude (1971) - Available to rent on Amazon
Hell is for Heroes (1962) - Available to rent on Amazon
High Anxiety (1977) - Streaming on HBO and available to rent on Amazon
I'm All Right Jack (1959) - Available to rent on Amazon
In the Heat of the Night (1967) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Incident (1967) - Streaming on YouTube and available on Region 2 DVD
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Jerk (1979) - Available to rent on Amazon
Jezebel (1938) - Available to rent on YouTube, and on DVD
Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) - Prime Video on Amazon
King of Hearts (1966) - Available on DVD
Lady in the Dark (1944) - Unavailable
Lady Sings the Blues (1972) - Available on DVD
The Landlord (1970) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Last Picture Show (1971) - Available to rent on Amazon
Laura (1944) - Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon
Love Crazy (1941) - Available to rent on YouTube and on DVD
Lured (1947) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Magic Box (1951) - Available to rent on YouTube
The Maltese Falcon (1941) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) - Streaming on FilmStuck and available to rent on Amazon
Monkey Business (1931) - Available to rent on Amazon
Never Give a Sucker An Even Break - Streaming on YouTube
One Hour With You (1932) - Available on DVD (part of a box set)
The Palm Beach Story (1942) - Available to rent on Amazon
Panique (1946) - Available on DVD
Planet of the Apes (1968) - Available to rent on Amazon
Postcards from the Edge (1990) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Princess Bride (1987) - Streaming on Netflix and available to rent on Amazon
Rafter Romance (1933) - Available on DVD
Rear Window (1954) - Available to rent on Amazon
Red River (1948) - Available to rent on Amazon
Red Headed Woman (1932) - Available to rent on YouTube
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) - Available to rent on Amazon
Saturday Night Fever (1977) - Available to rent on Amazon
Singin' in the Rain (1952) - Available to rent on Amazon
So This is Paris (1926) - Unavailable
Some Like it Hot (1959) - Available to rent on Amazon
Speedy (1928) - Streaming on FilmStruck and available to rent on YouTube
Stalag 17 (1953) - Streaming on YouTube and available on DVD
Street Scene (1931) - Streaming on YouTube and available on DVD
Theodora Goes Wild (1936) - Available on DVD
This is Cinerama (1952) Streaming on Fandor and available on DVD
Those Redheads from Seattle (1953) Available on DVD
Top Secret! (1984) - Available to rent on Amazon
Twentieth Century (1934) - Available to rent on Amazon
The Underworld Story (1950) - Available on DVD
Unfaithfully Yours (1948) - Available to rent on Amazon
Vigil in the Night (1940) - Available on DVD
Way Out West (1937) - Available to rent on Amazon
What's Up, Doc? (1972) - Available to rent on Amazon
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - Available to rent on Amazon
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) - Prime Video on Amazon
Zardoz (1974) - Available to rent on Amazon
March 28, 2017
Like most classic movie fans, I've spent a lot of time the last few weeks reflecting back on "Robert Osborne moments" -- memories of personal interactions, recollections of TCM intros that preceded our favorite films, the excitement we felt at TCM events when he walked into the room. He touched so many lives, in so many ways. I wasn't even aware until he passed just how many people in the online classic film set had met him, talked with him, taken pictures with him, corresponded with him. He was so much more than a tv host, he was like a father figure to the entire community. He was our educator, our mentor, our inspiration, and our friend.
On the last day of the 2014 TCM Film Festival, when he walked into the theater to give a surprise introduction for Sunday in New York, I simultaneously felt like I was seeing an old friend, and the biggest movie star who has ever lived. He was such a familiar, comforting figure, but with gravitas and the kind of star-power that made you weak in the knees.
Sunday in New York is one of my favorite movies and this was the first time I had ever seen Robert Osborne in person. There are no words to express how I felt when I realized that ROBERT OSBORNE was going to be introducing MY FAVORITE MOVIE. Despite being starstruck, dumbfounded, overjoyed and otherwise emotionally incapacitated, I somehow had the forethought to whip out my iphone and record the introduction.
While looking through photos from old TCM Festivals this week, I stumbled upon the video on my hard drive and realized I never shared it with you here. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did:
This year, unfortunately, we will be missing Robert Osborne's heartfelt, knowledgable introductions, but his presence will definitely be felt by the attendees, as TCM has dedicated the 2017 TCM Film Festival in his honor. There will be a "Remembering Robert" event at the Chinese Multiplex (House 1) at 12:30PM on Thursday, April 6th. In addition, all of the screenings on opening night will be preceded by a tribute video to Mr. O. I also read that they will be screening his 20th Anniversary salute during the festival, but a date and time has yet to be announced.
He will live on as long as there are young people who discover a classic movie one day and hunger for more. His books will be there to guide them, his TCM introductions will be there to inform them and excite them, and his passion for film preservation and historical documentation will have left a treasure trove of material for future film fanatics to feed on. And we, his fans, will carry his love of film, and his devotion to our community, with us always.
March 21, 2017
On Sunday I had the pleasure of seeing Yasujirō Ozu's silent film, Passing Fancy, on the big screen at The Film Forum. That alone would have been enough to sell me on a day trip to NYC but it gets even better! This screening was accompanied by a live piano performance -- composed and performed by Makia Matsumura -- and a live benshi performance by Ichiro Kataoka.
From the beginning of the film era, way back in the late 1800's, benshi performers would narrate silents films in Japan. Initially they were there to explain western customs to Japanese audiences before imported films, but as the medium grew more complicated, so did the benshi's role. Eventually they took to narrating foreign films during the movie, and acting out Japanese silent films in a way that essentially served as live dubbing! The benshi's popularity was so great that it's partially responsible for Japan's reluctance to adopt sound pictures until the mid 1930's! Of course, when the sound era finally began, the role of the benshi faded away. But the art form has been passed down through the generations, and benshi still perform at repertory silent film screenings around the world to this day. It's a rare treat, though, so I was tickled pink to be able to attend this special screening! In introducing the program, Film Forum programmer Bruce Goldstein said that as soon as they heard that Kataoka was going to be in town they immediately bumped something else from their spring lineup in order to accommodate this screening. For something this unique, that is certainly understandable!
Ichiro Kataoka performed in Japanese, and despite my inability to understand the language, it was still an unbelievably moving experience. I could tell that a lot of his words were meant to be dialogue, matching the mouths of the actors perfectly. He adopted different voices for each of the characters, even convincingly voicing two different women and a child.
It was so moving to me, to think that I was experiencing this film exactly the way that Japanese audiences experienced it in 1933. When Ozu made this film, THIS is how he believed the public would see it. If you ever have the opportunity to see a silent film with live benshi, I highly recommend it. Experiences like this are the closest we have to time travel, I feel. It was just beautiful.
March 20, 2017
The 2017 TCM Film Festival schedule went live today!! Woo hoo! I'll have a whole post soon about which movies I'm most excited about (Barefoot in the Park!!!!!!!) but for now, I just wanted to share this printable schedule that I made. I always find that it's so much easier to plan out what movies I want to see if I'm able to physically circle things and mark up a calendar, but the festival website doesn't really let you print out the schedule.
If anyone else is having the same issue, hopefully this printable guide will come in handy! I only included movie names and start times (no special guests or release years) in order to save space and make sure I could whip this thing up as quickly as possible so everyone can start planning out their choices! I posted previews of the calendar below but for a full-scale printable PDF that you can download and print out, click here.
March 11, 2017
Did you know that French actress Michèle Morgan was not only an exceptional on-screen talent and world-class beauty, but a gifted artist as well? After having her portrait painted by Moïse Kisling in 1943, Morgan was inspired to take up painting herself and enrolled in art school in Los Angeles.
She apparently started off doing portraiture, but the only images I could find from this time are from the black and white photo featured below, on her easels and on the wall. They're absolutely stunning, and I wish I could find more of them!
Later on Morgan moved on to still life and abstract works, working on large canvases in bright, bold colors. In an interview with Paris Match in 2008 she said that she had sold at least 100 pieces but still thought of the craft as a hobby! Expressing modesty and calling herself an "amateur," Morgan definitely sold herself short -- her paintings are vibrant expressive pieces that could have easily been painted by a professional artist. As an artist myself, I admire her use of color and I envy her ability to form cohesive, striking abstract works using freeform shapes. Abstraction is harder than it looks and it takes a real talent to create pieces this beautiful.
January 28, 2017
Emmanuelle Riva passed away today at age 89. When I discovered her work a couple years ago she quickly became one of my favorite actresses. There are certain people who seem to have an uncanny depth of emotion that they can tap into for roles, something innate that comes gushing out whenever the camera starts rolling, and Riva was one of them. It seemed like she enjoyed her job more than anything else in the world. I just love when you can tell from someone's films that they live to act -- that playing a part is more important than being a star. And I love when that acting seems effortless, like the lines are thought and not memorized, when their eyes are so fully possessed by the emotions of their character that it's easy to forget that acting is even happening; it seems like you are just watching life.
The world lost a beautiful, kind, intelligent, talented soul today, but I hope that the recognition she's receiving right now will hopefully expose more people to her work. If you're looking for more films of hers to watch, I highly recommend Thérèse Desqueyroux, Kapo, Léon Morin, Priest, and Adua and Her Friends. I also really enjoyed Risky Business and The Hours of Love, but they're a little harder to track down.
Riva is perhaps best known for Hiroshima mon amour, Alain Resnais' film about a French actress who strikes up a short romance with a man while shooting on location in Hiroshima, Japan. She took a series of photos during filming which formed the basis of a photography book released in 2008, titled Tu n'as rien vu à Hiroshima.
Although Riva claims in the book that she isn't a real photographer, her snapshots capturing daily life in postwar Hiroshima are beautiful, poignant, and playful. She said that she took more photos of children because they were attracted by someone taking photos, "I never went to them to have them pose, I only photographed what was. I didn't arrange it. I'm not a photographer, it would hurt me to arrange something. I took what I saw, and I liked it very much."
Here are some of my favorite photos from her collection:
Photos scanned by me. Quotes were translated by me from original French.