Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Good Week in October

The Innocents (1961)
directed by Jack Clayton
rating: 4 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

That cinematographer Freddie Francis is always mentioned in anyone's recommendation of The Innocents suggests the uncommon case of the visual experience trumping narrative prerogatives. It isn't. Francis' spell limns the purgatory of a phantasmagorical Beyond to such a degree that the ear, in The Innocents' most arresting moments, strains to discern some sound in the silence. The visual sense alone is not sufficient; in its way, the strain is a storybook kind, where you return to the world by the break in your screams. So the horror in Deborah Kerr's eyes assumes its own invasive proportions, no longer reflective, but ravenous and rooting. The Innocents is an adaptation, but one free of every trapping fear except the most elemental: isolation, nightfall, rain, and the point just beyond believing the awfulness the eye reveals. Haunting and beautiful.

Rooms used by daylight as if they were dark woods.