jeudi 18 décembre 2008

The demon barber of Tim Burton

( lire la version française )

As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved fantasy.
That taste probably comes from my childhood, and the russian tales that my mother read to me, with their wonderful epic happenings and their terrifying creatures, such as the Baba-Yaga. They fired up my imagination.

As a teenager, I read Poe and Maupassant’s fantastic tales. These great authors very often had a mysterious, chilling and macabre universe, but their inborn sense of atmosphere and the excellence of their respective styles always managed to make a strange beauty bloom from dark grounds. In a way, I again found this balance between esthetics and horror in the Hammer productions.

At the end of the sixties, american horror movies, which replaced gothic films, seemed to me incredibly effective, but it had lost the poetic dimension of the great classics. I remember seeing George A. Romero’s
« Night of the Living Dead » with my friend, director Pierre Gaspard-Huit. I was terrified. Its reputation as a cult movie was well deserved. As a moviegoer, I was satisfied, but as an actress, I would not have enjoyed playing in such a film ! It was lacking that dimension that made Hammer films look like adult fairy tales. This is why I’m always happy to discover a new Tim Burton movie.

I have seen SWEENEY TODD last week, an adaptation from a Broadway musical.

Back from prison, where he was unjustly sent,Todd, like the Count of Monte-Cristo, has only one idea in his mind, to get vengeance from the notables who destroyed his life. He establishes as a barber again, and cuts his enemies’ throats, after luring them to his shop. Blinded by revenge, Todd will finally perish in the same way as his victims.

The story is horrific but casting (lead by Johnny Depp et Helena Bonham-Carter ) is perfect. The mix of songs and dialogs served by the very inspired direction of Tim Burton make this « grand guignol » drama a flamboyant blood opera.

If the film seems to borrow references from Universal’s horror classics, it paints a very pessimistic portrait of the victorian society, which decidedly reminds me of the atmosphere of most Terry Fisher (1) films.

Tim Burton is assuredly one of the rare directors who could make me want to act again. His love of the gothic genre and his respect for the golden age of fantasy movies touches me deeply.

next : Circus of horrors

(1) Terence Fisher

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