Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pilgrimage, John Ford, 1933

There might be some earlier Ford films (JUST PALS and THREE GODFATHERS, especially), which are stronger works on their own terms, but for me, this is where it finally all flows together. The crushing force of public opinion and, necessarily opposed to it, the proud insistence on individual sorrow. The rejection of moralist stances of any kind. The elevation of myth over truth not as a function of ideology, but of psychology.

And, above all, the visual textures: The pictorialism no longer feels derivative, but is thoroughly bound to Ford's eternal, unresolvable investigations into ambiguities and paradoxes - the idyllic nature scenes at the start already being shot through with premonitions of decay and death. And the solid narrative flow almost constantly being offset by the gestrural precision of the actors: Hannah Jessop's way of vehemently, almost aggressively feeding her chicken tells you all you need to know about her.

No comments: