Saturday, March 10, 2012
Pete's Pantheon: The Impassive Passion of Buster Keaton
Keaton wrote and directed his own films, performed his own stunts, and broke his own neck doing them. He moved with a physical grace that elevated slapstick to poetry. Working within the restrictions of the soundless, colorless world of silent film, he voluntarily limited himself further by giving up the actor's cues of expression to the audience. His silent face, like the silence of his films, invites the audience to fill the gaps with their own imagination.
There is something of Job in Keaton. He endures the absurd punishments of life with an unshakeable faith. The scenery might chew him, but he never chews the scenery. The question is never whether he might endure, but how.