Monday, February 22, 2010

Chaplin's Heart

[excerpt from an unpublished interview with John Woo]

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY: I wanted to ask you about Chaplin. You made a film called Laughing Times, with Dean Shek...

JOHN WOO: [laughing] Oh, no...

VISHNEVETSKY: Well, I happen to really like it.

WOO: It's a copy!

VISHNEVETSKY: Well, the reason I wanted to talk you about his films is that, is that, though none of us nowadays live like The Tramp, somehow we all feel Chaplin. That seems like a model for what a filmmaker should aspire to.

WOO: I greatly admire Chaplin. I love his movies, and we all owe so much to him. I wish I could make movies like he did. When his movie starts, you know: "This is Chaplin!" We are not only watching a movie; we are watching Chaplin himself.

VISHNEVETSKY: His feelings come out through the images. He had so much sympathy for everyone. And the images are often horrifying: people going hungry, sleeping in alleys. But what comes through strongest in his silent films is hope.

WOO: That's why he's so great. that's why he's the master: his heart.

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