samedi 16 mars 2013

Pam Grier

Dans Grantland un remarquable portrait de la star de la blaxploitation: Pam Grier (on la connaît mieux ici comme la Jackie Brown de Tarantino).

It's as if Tarantino had surveyed her entire career up to that point — the television appearances and sidekick parts — and had had enough. He turned Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch into Jackie Brown for her, and it was both a willful resurrection and a tribute to what Grier had come to mean to Tarantino's entire idea of movies. (Grier got the script and thought — flattered — that Tarantino wanted her to be Melanie, the randy stoner that Bridget Fonda plays.)  

The opening shot of Brown, in profile, standing on a moving sidewalk, just makes you cry for all the love it conveys. It's a simple sequence: her on the walkway while Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street" plays (years ago, Grier sang backup for Womack). But it's so loaded — the whole movie is — as it regards this still bodacious woman, working as a flight attendant and drug mule on a nothing airline. The movie is the most adult thing Tarantino's ever attempted. He must find a dozen different ways of showcasing the sad, the lonesome, the dull without succumbing to any of it. He rediscovers not only Grier, but Robert Forster and even Robert De Niro, in the most enjoyably egoless piece of acting he's ever done.  

Grier actually says remarkably little in Jackie Brown. Tarantino locates a wisdom that hadn't been there in 1974 (she was 48 when the film was released in 1997). The exasperation and fatigue on that unconventionally beautiful face says everything. The movie's infused with these exploitation elements (Grier; briefly being in prison; Haig as the judge who locks her up; every shabby bar and office from seemingly every blaxploitation movie ever). It's in no way an exploitation movie. But it's also as if straight-ahead exploitation were momentarily not good enough for Tarantino or his star. He wanted to grow up, to make himself worthy enough to live up to the occasion of her, not to laugh at or wink at her legacy, but to raise her up, to redeem her. He did.

[The career and legacy of Pam Grier - Grantland]

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