Friday, September 3, 2010

Radziwilowicz's Face

From the International Journal of Slawkenbergian Studies:

There's a moment in The Story of Maire and Julien when Madame X tells Julien that she's suspicious because he doesn't have the face of a blackmailer and you realize that she's totally right, and that Jerzy Radziwilowicz's face, the most Polish face in film history, is almost inscrutably honest.

Everything about Radziwilowicz looks honest: big hands (another moment from Marie and Julien: Radziwilowicz is sitting alone at a round cafe table and he scoops up the change he has left over into his bulldozer palms), big ears and big cheeks that hide his cheekbones. His skin: ruddy in youth, pockmarked in old age. And, most importantly, a big nose which (like Gabin's nose) has only grown bigger as he has grown older. There is an unusual sense of trust and complicity inspired by big-nosed actors: W.C. Fields, Jean Gabin, Gerard Depardieu, Walter Matthau, Jean-Paul Belmondo, John Krasinski (who could star in a Radziwilowicz biopic if someone were to make one; he could play the young JR and Martin Donovan could play the old one), Clive Owen.

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