Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Liv Ullman's Striking Beauty


(image via huffingtonpost)

Before The Corsair is pilloried for the "shallow" remarks above (in the "In and Out" section) about Lindsay Lohan's appearance we would like to say in our defense, that: a) men are visual creatures, and, b) Liv Ullman -- in the 70s and now at 66 -- is one of, if not the most striking women we have ever seen onscreen.

Before there was Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, there was Liv Ullman. Women are better actors than men. They are more emotionally complex, and, as a result of outdated mores (see Dowd today on women in Presidential politics), unfortunately are often relegated to competing in the psychological arena as opposed to, say, the realm of business on equal footing. If, in psychology, women have richer experiences to draw upon than men, then IMHO they tend to be better actors (The Best Actress category at the Oscars is always better than the Best Actor category).

Liv Ullman is the greatest actor-actress of all time.


Cries and Whispers. (image via imageshack)

She was Ingmar Bergman's Muse; he is the greatest film director of all time. Ullman gave body to Ingmar Bergman's disembodied demons. From the mindbending fade-to-membrane-reds of Cries and Whispers to the psychologically complex black-and-white betrayal gambits fleshed out upclose in Persona, Liv Ullman explored the outer limits of the human personality. And she did so, astonishingly, in close-up.


Liv, close up. (image via longpauses)

Danny Miller, on Huffington Post, reminded me of just how intense Liv Ullman is:

"I know I've lived in southern California too long when the natural aging process starts to seem like an abnormality. I just watched the newly released DVD of Ingmar Bergman's Saraband.

"It's a sequel of sorts to his great 1973 film Scenes from a Marriage and it is so expertly acted, so true and raw, and so deliciously counter to anything available in American mainstream films that you'd be crazy not to chuck the Oscar nominees that are vying for attention right now in the theatres and curl up at home with this movie and a bowl of Swedish lingonberries. My eyes had already welled up with tears five minutes into the film as I watched Liv Ullmann's Marianne encounter ex-husband Johan for the first time in 30 years. I think that 86-year-old Bergman's supposedly final film (he's been calling every film that since 1982's Fanny and Alexander) is one of his best--but what I really want to talk about is Liv Ullmann's hauntingly beautiful face.


Ullman, in Sarabande. (image via svt)

"I'm not talking about beauty by traditional Hollywood standards. If given the chance, the Powers That Be in this town would surely opt for a Soylent Green-like scenario where all women were euthanized on their 34th birthdays and their cremains used to fertilize the feng-shuied gardens of Beverly Hills. Then for the under 30 crowd, teams of Dr. Mengele-inspired radio talk show hosts would stand at the gates of the major studios and separate the would-be starlets into two lines, with only the women exhibiting botoxed brows, proper saline implants, and bas-relief ribcages allowed entry.

"I have always loved Liv Ullmann and of course I always thought she was extremely beautiful--who didn't? But seeing her in Saraband at the age of 66, I could not tear my eyes away. How sick is it that I'm so used to actresses d'un certain �ge doing anything in their power to look younger than their years that seeing Liv Ullmann's lined face and aging skin nearly took my breath away? So that's what it looks like!"

So fucking true. The full article here.


Katerina said...

She is gorgeous. Seeing an aging face nowdays is, as it were, a breath of fresh air. The prevalence of people such as these is what makes it increasingly and sorely obvious that the great majority of the movies that come from Hollywood have no soul, and it would seem that neither do the actors, sadly. It seems like even the least ambitious movie that comes from Europe speaks so much more than any of the overhyped, overprocessed junk from the other side of the world.
Thanks for the excerpt, it was lovely! said...

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