Saturday, 8 May 2010

Stabbed by a Forking Tongue. Joseph Mankiewicz. Julius Caesar r


presentation by Corry Shores
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[The following is quotation. My notes are bracketed in red.]

Stabbed by a Forking Tongue
Joseph Mankiewicz
Julius Caesar


Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 2: The Time Image
Cinéma 2: L'image-temps

Chapter III. From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
Chapitre III. Du souvenir aux rêves (troisième commentaire de Bergson)

2c: The two poles of the flashback: Carné, Mankiewicz
2c: Les deux pôles du flash-back : Carné, Mankiewicz


The interpretation of Shakespeare's Julius underlines the psychological opposition between Brutus and Mark Antony. The fact is that Brutus appears to be an absolutely linear character: of course he is torn by his affection for Caesar, of course he is a skilful orator and politician, but his love of the republic sketches a perfectly straight course for him. We said that in Mankiewicz there is no character who develops in a linear way. Yet there is Brutus. But, precisely, after speaking to the people, he allows Antony the chance to speak, without waiting himself or leaving an observer: he will find himself proscribed, assured of defeat, alone and backed into suicide, locked in his rectitude before he has been able to understand anything of what has happened. Mark Antony, on the contrary, is a supremely forked being: presenting himself as a soldier, playing on his unskilled speech, rough-spoken, with awkward phrasings, and plebeian accents, he sustains an extraordinary speech whole in forks, which will make the Roman people turn (Mankiewicz's art and Brando's voice unite here in one of the finest scenes in theatre-cinema). [Deleuze Cinema 2, 1989:50-51]

L'interprétation du Jules César de Shakespeare par Mankiewicz insiste sur l'opposition psychologique de Brutus et de Marc-Antione. C'est que Brutus apparaît comme un personnage absolument linéaire : sans doute est-il déchiré par son affection pour César, sans doute est-il déchiré par son affection pour César, sans doute est-il orateur et politique habiles, mais son amour de la république lui trace une voie toute droite. Nous disions qu'il n'y avait pas chez Mankiewicz de personnage à développement linéaire. Il y a pourtant Brutus. Mais, justement, après avoir parlé au peuple, il permet à Marc-Antione de parler à son tour, sans rester lui-même ou laisser un observateur : il se retrouvera proscrit, promis à la défaite, seul et acculé au suicide, figé dans sa rectitude avant d'avoir pu rien comprendre à ce qui s'est passé. Marc-Antione au contraire est l'être fourchu par excellence : se présentant comme soldat, jouant de son parler malhabile, à la voix rauque, aux articulations incertaines, aux accents plébéiens, il tient un discours extraordinaire tout en bifurcations, qui va retourner le peuple romain (l'art de Mankiewicz et la voix de Brando s'unissent ici dans une des plus belles scènes de cinéma-théâtre). [Deleuze Cinéma 2, 1985:73b.d]

[First we see Ceasar murdered.]

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[Then Marc Anthony arrives to see the bloody corpse of his brutalized friend.]

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[Brutus makes an agreement with Marc Anthony. After Brutus has his chance to give the senate's side of the story to the crowd raging outside, then Marc Anthony will be left free to speak in defense of Ceasar.]

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[Here we see Brutus eloquent speech.]

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[Now it's Mark Anthony's turn. We see how he during dramatic moments rhetorically forks in ways which sway the crowd to his own side.]

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[In the end, Brutus feels cornered into suicide.]

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Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 2: The Time Image. Transl. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London & New York: 1989.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 2: L'image-temps. Paris:Les éditions de minuit, 1985.




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