Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Leopard

I find this scene from The Leopard (of which this clip is only a fractional excerpt) to be beautiful not only for gratifying my general love of period pieces, but also for the way in which it accomplishes something I have never even remotely seen in other films. I’ll accept that some might think of this as aristocratic superficiality, but I’m still enthralled by the procedures that have fashioned the final result. The entire ball scene is 45 minutes long and, for me at least, never once tiresome. Often, in some parts the camera might rest in a single location for some time and let the action simply unfold before it. You’d have to see the whole thing, but I like this effect as if there is no director or crew working on the set. It’s almost like viewers are given the chance to simply sit in the room and eavesdrop on conversations. The attention to detail is in all actuality painstaking (for instance, real candles were used in the chandeliers and had to be replaced hourly), but the outcome never seems contrived. How I see it is kind of hard to explain, but it’s as if the film both does and doesn’t care about the viewer—the ball is going to take place whether anyone really cares and is watching or not.

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