Well, if they can glorify the heroes of Marvel Universe, I can do the same for the heroes of the Art House cinema.
I hope to put up posts periodically to highlight the works of these as a way to prod you to watch more of these amazing films.
1- Ruth Sheen. b. 1952
This astounding actress is one of several amazing performers who make up a troupe of players in the films of Mike Leigh. I first got to know her in the BBC historical medical drama Branwell, where she played the redoubtable Nurse Carr. In Leigh’s films she often is the shining light of goodness in a harsh world. Please watch High Hopes, Vera Drake most importantly Another Year where she and Jim Broadbent are the kind of couple you want to be a part of.
2- Soumitra Chatterjee (1935 – 2020)
John Ford had John Wayne, Ingmar Bergman had Liv Ullman, Von Sternberg had Marlene Dietrich and Satyajit Ray had Soumitra Chatterjee. He made his film debut as the adult Apu in The World Of Apu. Auspicious enough for you? He is often the lens that focuses the overwhelming humanity of Ray’s films.
We lost him last month. Please watch The World of Apu, Charulata, Home and the World, The Big City. Oh hell, just watch ANYTHING by Ray. It is my gift to you.
3- Anna Karina – (1940 – 2019)
The muse of Jean-Luc Godard. The look on her face in the film Vivre Sa Vie as she watches The Passion of Joan of Arc with tears in her eyes rivals the performance of the legendary Falconetti that she is watching. If you must watch a Godard film, watch Vivre sa Vie or Woman is Woman, but the film that blew me away was Jacques Rivette’s filming of Diderot’s The Nun. She is amazing. She made some Hollywood films which I am scared to watch.
4- Haruko Sugimura (1909 – 1997)
An actress with as wide a range as Streep. She can play comic as in Kurosawa’s Red Beard. She can break your heart as in Ozu’s Story of Floating Weeds. Her best known role in the west is probably as the awful hair salon-owning elder daughter in Tokyo Story. If you haven’t seen that, stop reading and watch it NOW!!!!