Friday, August 7, 2009
NICK RAY b AUGUST 7 1911
"There was theatre (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray." JEAN LUC GODARD
it may be typical french hyperbole but not by much. ray made nearly a dozen films francis ford coppolla would kill to have made. like his fellow odd man out sam fuller, he just made films & had a preternatural sense of what the art in that action happened to be. he had a stupendously awful personal life. when he wasn't making films, he was eating the scenery.
mike & i saw a screening of lightning over water at the pfa out here when the film wasn't completed. wim wenders was there & talked a bit but didn't really have much to say. ray was dying when they shot the film &, in fact, his death was the central focus of the film. in that screening & that version of the film, there was a scene where a hospitalized ray is simply incoherent, drooling & babbling at the camera. he keeps telling wenders to "cut," which wenders ignores. it was a shocking & grotesque scene. i saw the film again many years later & the scene had been "cut." in his film diary five years later, tokyo-ga, wenders repeated the scene w/a japanese camera man who'd worked for ozu & is overcome remembering his master & begins to weep. "please, cut," he implores wenders, who continues to film. it's a shocking & grotesque scene there too. did he learn this cruelty from nick?
from they live by night through in a lonely place & the lusty men to rebel without a cause & johnny guitar(the weirdest western ever filmed), nicholas ray was w/o peer. i guess that comes pretty close to being cinema.