Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lovely Delphine, Gone Too Soon

I recently watched Daughters of Darkness and was reminded that it's beautiful star, Delphine Seyrig, died at the too young age of 58 from lung cancer. But what a career she had. From Last Year at Marienbad and Stolen Kisses to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, she had one of the most interesting careers an actress can have. In response to Peter Bogdanovich's remark about Greta Garbo that it was "too bad that she had only been in two really good pictures," Orson Welles famously replied, "You only need one." Well, Delphine had a whole stock of them.

Daughters of Darkness isn't the best vampire movie you'll ever see, in fact, it might not even be a vampire movie at all, not in the strict sense of the term. But it is an interesting movie, well shot, well composed and well paced and the fact that it plays away from normal vampire tropes keeps it mysterious and dreamlike.  The ambiance is enticing and inviting and it's Delphine that really makes the whole thing work. I won't lie to you, when she's not on the screen, it's not nearly as interesting but when she is, her charms take over.

A friend of mine, Dennis Cozzalio, recently had the pleasure of seeing Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles on the big screen and wrote it up here. I thought it was a stunning film when I saw it first but found it didn't stick with me and a second viewing felt pointless. Why is that? I defer to Dennis or anyone else who has seen it for the answer. However, none of that changes the fact that to see it is to celebrate the discreet charm of Delphine Seyrig. She left us too soon.

P.S. Won't someone please release her 1976 documentary on sexism with actresses in the movies, featuring Maria Schneider, Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda,Sois belle et tais-toi (Be Pretty and Shut Up). I'd love to see it!