Posts Tagged ‘The Leopard’

Blackpaint 670 – Basquiat, Chabrol, Audran – and Blackpaint

May 3, 2020

 

Basquiat – Rage to Riches (BBC4)

Stunning pictures; fantastic colours.  Especially good when his cartoonish figures are combined with a swishy “AbEx” background, reminiscent of Twombly and Rauschenburg.  Great story about his visit to Twombly’s studio – he was brought there by another artist as a big fan of Twombly, and was told to leave by T’s gallerist – very revealing of the prejudices of the time – all gone now, of course..  A lot of influential critics suffered from  motes in the eye as far as Basquiat was concerned, I think – I wonder why?  Maybe they felt he was over-praised at the time.  Fascinating to see too, the rather touching irritation expressed by Andy Warhol in one excerpt, when he felt that Basquiat had failed to give him his due, in some way that I didn’t quite get…

 

Films of Claude Chabrol

I’ve been watching my DVD set of the great director’s films; the sombre music, often a cello piece, the colour somehow drained in most films (not Le Boucher, though) and the great interaction of his troupe of regulars: Jean Yanne, Michel Bouquet, and above all, Stephane Audran (Chabrol’s wife), with her mask-like beauty concealing her thoughts – that was very much her thing.  “Social” niceties, sympathy, good manners, humour, she could perform to satisfy convention and politeness; but she conveyed the impression that there was much more going on beneath the surface.

Stephane Audran and Jean Yanne in Le Boucher (1970)

 

Stephane Audran in “La Femme Infidele” (1969)

Chabrol is not, to my mind, “the French Hitchcock”; the plots are far less contrived (with the possible exception of Les Biches) than Hitchcock’s – none of them really contain a mystery.  They are about ordinary everyday concerns – love, lust, greed, jealousy, revenge – and the whodunit element is absent.  The last film in the set is his version of Madame Bovary, with Isabelle Huppert, never better, as Emma and Jean Yanne as the chemist Homais; a big contrast to his role as Le Boucher back in 1970.

I like all the films, except for “Les Biches”; perhaps “Juste Avant la Nuit” (1971) is the most intriguing.  A man (Michel Bouquet) kills his mistress in the course of an S&M sex session.  He then feels compelled to confess – and everyone, even the victim’s husband, seem compelled to forgive him and persuade him not to give himself up.

Bovary, of course, is a horrific story in several respects; Chabrol’s version is rather… softer, perhaps, than Sokurov’s Bovary, rather bafflingly called “Save and Protect” (1990).  It does, however, have a great ballroom scene, not quite rivalling that in “The Leopard” or the one in Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” – but pretty good, all the same…  Interesting that Chabrol and Sokurov chose to do the book within a year of each other, maybe in production at the same time.

Blackpaint’s Paintings

I’ve finally managed to get a couple of paintings done, despite a heavy schedule of crossword puzzles, reading Beevor’s battle books, pounding sweatily on a treadmill and tea drinking.  I present them below for your delectation – or derision:

Over the Hill

Still Life with Tomatoes and Steak

Blackpaint

3rd May 2020