For those of you looking for a nice dose of Pacino, check out his boxed set: Pacino: An Actor's Vision
. This is some stuff that most people haven't seen and will offer a cool new angle on a very interesting actor.
Until this boxed set was released his film The Local Stigmatic
was unavailable in any format. Pacino funded the film entirely and therefore was able to keep it from the rest of us - the jerk. Now we have it and get a look into what Pacino was doing during the years he took working on this thing while avoiding doing any other films. Four years he stayed away and by the end of it he was broke and had this movie made. It's a frightening piece of work; beatings usually are. Stigmatic is looking at issues of violence and our fixation on famous people. We like celebrities, and sometimes we like to see them fall and not look so glamorous anymore. We like reading and watching action and violence and what's the difference between watching violence and performing violent acts? These aren't new questions, but the film provides an interesting look at those issues.
My personal favorite film in the box is Looking for Richard
, Pacino's meta-documentary on Shakespeare's Richard III
. Shakespeare saturates so much of art and culture and Pacino is one big Shakespeare fan. This is just exciting film making, giving us a look at both the performance of Richard III
and the process of understanding, developing and finally performing the play. We get to see a great group of actors discuss the play and how they want to do it, then watch them perform it. The editing is both playful and engaging. The interviews with actors, scholars and people off the street give another layer to the story that Pacino is telling. Some of the most amusing, fun moments comes from Pacino talking to random people about the Bard. Again, Pacino funded it all himself and directed it. One of my favorite flicks on Shakespeare and creative process. The film reveals perhaps more about Pacino than it does about Shakespeare or Richard III
, but you should still see it if you're into the play or playwright.Chinese Coffee
is another stage play that Pacino performed on stage and then made into a movie. Again we have issues of creativity and artistry that follow us through this whole set of films. Pacino is Harry, a struggling writer whose life is in shambles. Jerry Orbach is Jake, his very intelligent friend, but doesn't create any art. He knows a lot, but does nothing with it, nor is he too happy with Harry's latest novel. What Jake excels at is opinions and criticism. He's ridiculously well read and can blast anything pretty thoroughly, but his own hipocrisy becomes pretty evident as the story progresses. Both characters are upset and feeling sorry for themselves as suffering artists, yet they both are really good people too. A complicated and thoroughly engaging work. Pacino and Jerry Orbach give strong performances and Pacino's directing keeps this two person piece tight, quick and effective.
The final disc is a simultaneously underwhelming and satisfying documentary/rambling interview, aptly titled Babbelonia
. The DVD case says this is a documentary. I think it's an interview where we watch Pacino ramble and babble for 50 minutes about acting and how cool it is. His stories, personal philosophy, insights and perspectives are interesting, if you like hearing what he thinks. Yes, he rambles and is all over the place, but his excitement for acting, theater and film is fun to see. He's a complicated person, but one who likes what he does and tries to do it well. It's a different way of showing the life of an actor, but is one that seems strangely appropriate for such an actor as Al Pacino.
For a better, more in depth review of An Actor's Vision
, check out this review
Labels: Celebrities, DVDs, Film