Ray Carney Moment of the Day #3

June 16, 2011


“These are the sort of oddball moments critics typically leave out of their accounts of a viewing experience because they do not function abstractly or systematically. Indeed, if they are mentioned at all they are assumed to be mere actorly exuberances, accidents, or errors. They do not lend themselves to metaphoric generalizations. They do not advance the plot. They do not “mean” superpersonal things, nor are they deeply revelatory about the intentions or goals of a character. They are personal, idiosyncratic, and fleeting expressions, eccentric to the overarching structures of the work.

But their eccentricity and evanescence are what most interest Cassavetes about them. That they funtion in an expressively opposite way than Charles Foster Kane’s “Rosebud” utterance is the point. Insofar as they are unmotivated, unexpected, unpredicatable, and stick out of the narrative, they express the triumph of impulse over system. They testify to his success in getting assimilated, unsystematic impulses on film, and in so doing they let us see that life lies in that direction, away from struck poses and formulated styles of acting or of living.”


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