Monday, October 31, 2011

In Angelina Maccarone’s THE LOOK, Charlotte Rampling gives it -- and gets it

How unusual is the new documentary THE LOOK by Angelina Maccarone, which tracks some time in the current life of one of our favorite actresses, the riveting, beautiful and – as it turns out – highly intelligent Charlotte Rampling. The filmmaker simply points her camera at and her sound mic on this art-film icon, following her around various cities (New York, Paris, London) and letting her talk about, well, nearly everything you might want to ask or hear.

These subjects include exposure, age, beauty, resonance, taboo, desire, demons, death and love (that pretty much covers it, no?) and while TrustMovies found that certain portions might fit a bit better under one or another of the subject headings than the one chosen by Ms Maccarone (shown at right), this is of little importance because there’s really nothing Ms Rampling (shown below and further below) has to say that isn’t worth hearing, and sometimes quite worth some pondering, as well.

The film's full title is Charlotte Rampling -- The Look:  a self-portrait through others, and so along the way we meet some other intelligent people. Rampling seems to surround herself with these, including her son (shown with her, below, as gorgeous as she is and a budding theater director); a photographer or two who’ve know her for quite a spell (the actress, with 97 appearances under very small size belt, has been working consistently for nearly half a century); novelist and filmmaker Paul Auster (shown with her, two photos down); and a few more.

Because she’s been around for so long and worked so consistently in the kind of challenging movies that attract art-film audiences and keep them returning for more, Ms Rampling would seem to be an ideal choice for this kind of probing documentary. She does not disappoint. And with footage from a number of her films cut into the interview portions – including The Damned, Georgy Girl, The Night Porter, Heading South, Under the Sand, The Verdict and Max mon amour – we also see her then and now, and hear her thoughts about the films (and sometimes their directors and/or why she chose to perform in them).

From the beginning, when she and her photographer friend talk about performing, photography, wrinkles, plastic surgery (and her lack of it -- or much of it, anyway), and we see this then-young woman in Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, we’re hooked but good. Spoilers here would include Ms Rampling’s interesting musings, so I’ll just say that the lady comes off as incisive, smart, genuine, decent and realistic. I wish I knew her, but should I ever run into her during her wanderings around her favorite cities, I think I’ll smile and just say “thank you” as I pass, rather than intrude on her privacy.

The Look (perfect title for a film about Rampling), from Kino Lorber and running 98 minutes, makes its official New York debut at DOC NYC this Thursday, November 3, then opens theatrically Friday, November 4 at the Cinema Village and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. Click here to learn playdates in other cities/theaters.

No comments: