Saturday, July 9, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 9: A Film With Your Favorite Actress

Day 10: A Film With Your Favorite Actress: Orlando
Please file under: No Duh.  Crossfile under: Repetition, Girl Crush, and Love.  Dear reader, you're no doubt already acquainted with my unabashed girl crush on the divine Tilda Swinton.  I was saying it before Ebert, but in my opinion the enigmatic actress is a cinematic patron saint who can do almost no wrong.  Swinton self-describes as a "film fan" instead of an "actress," and seems to make movies with that philosophy in mind.  She takes the projects that appeal to her as a viewer, and does not shy away from the weird, the tiny, or the unknown even as she curiously experiments with the occasional small role in a big blockbuster (she's the best part of both Narnia and Constantine).  Swinton works with the people she wants to work with, collaborates with the directors she likes to see in the morning, and seems not to care about the Hollywood norm.  Consequently, she puts her all into everything and disappears into her roles in a way that's truly remarkable.  If an actor could be described as an auteur, she would be the one most qualified for the title. 

Though I harp on my love of last year's I Am Love, my favorite Swinton performance is the one that defined her career for the art house masses: Sally Potter's 1992 Orlando, a Virginia Woolf adaptation that actually manages to capture some of the poetry of the language in its vision.  As Orlando moves through time and gender, Swinton finds the happy medium in all things.  She remains exactly the same, and yet becomes entirely different with each costume change or period.  The film is a sight to behold, one of my absolute favorites, and I simply can't imagine anyone embodying Orlando more perfectly than Swinton does.  Then again, that's the thing about nearly every role she takes on.  Once she's done it, there's no one else.   

2 comments:

  1. Watched Orlando yesterday, and knew that I would come back to this post to comment on the film (just in case there were any spoilers lurking about.)

    It's safe to say, I totally see what you see in Orlando. I already loved Tilda before, but her performance in Orlando is just a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

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  2. @Cherokee: Fabulous! Isn't it fricken awesome? She's magnetic in it, and the film is just absolutely gorgeous. So glad you checked it out!

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