Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why Sam Fuller

Ed here: I ran across this in Senses of Cinema and thought it was an interesting take on Sam Fuller.

Why Samuel Fuller?
by Tag Gallagher

Tag Gallagher is the author of John Ford and The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini and has appeared in Cinéma 0, Trafic, Cinémathèque and Cahiers du Cinéma. More of his work can be found on his website.

Why Samuel Fuller?

Many people will associate Samuel Fuller less for any of his films than for his “guest appearance” in Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le fou in 1965. Ferdinand Griffon (Jean-Paul Belmondo) runs into him at a Paris party and asks, “I’ve always wanted to know, what is cinema, exactly?”, and is told, in English, that, “A film is like a battleground. It’s love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word: emotion.”

The reply was quadrupally appropriate. First, because Fuller was a warrior. Fuller had fought World War II as a private in the US Army, in a division known as The Big Red One, in Algeria, Sicily, Omaha Beach, the battle of the Bulge and the Falkenau death camp.

Second, because Fuller was famous for talking in headlines. He had started selling newspapers in New York when he was 11 and, by 17, was a full-fledged crime reporter and cartoonist. And his films have the feel of tabloid journalism: a bizarre story; violence; and a terse, hard-hitting approach that emphasizes action and conflict.

Third, because no one better than Fuller epitomized the sort of unsung filmmaker that critics like Godard and François Truffaut had been championing in the 1950s, at the moment that the ‘heresies’ of the politique des auteurs and Hollywood-as-art were making their biggest impact. Fuller’s films were cheap. They exploited commercial genres. They made money and were despised – when they were noticed at all. But Fuller’s success gave him independence. He not only directed, he wrote and produced. He was the complete auteur. And his movies shouted out powerful emotions of pain and despair, of the absurdity of a world without God, of looking into the heart of darkness of the wreck of post-war civilization. Fuller was thus in many ways an inspiration behind the first films of the Nouvelle Vague.

for the rest go here:

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