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Pauline's Picks: The Golden Coach

Please join us this summer for a film series we are calling Pauline's Picks. We will be playing films from the Cinema Guild run by Pauline Kael and James Broughton, located on Telegraph Avenue right here in Berkeley. We will begin with Gibson Art Projects' own picks from the year 1956. This Tuesday, we will be screening The Golden Coach, by Jean Renoir.

“At his greatest, Jean Renoir expressed the beauty in our common humanity; that’s what Anna Magnani at her greatest expressed. This 1952 movie—his tribute to commedia dell’arte—is also a tribute to her fabulous gifts, and she gives the film its gusto. We see her here not only as a sensual, earthy “woman of the people” but as an artist who exhausts her resources in creating the illusion of volcanic reality. Though Renoir has taken Prosper Mérimée’s vehicle and shaped it for her, it will be forever debatable whether it contains her or she explodes it. But as this puzzle is parallel with the theme—a Pirandellian confusion of theatre and everyday life—it adds another layer to the ironic comedy. The film is set in a dusty frontier in Renaissance Peru: a band of Italian strolling players is attempting to bring art to South America. The movie has been compared to “Così Fan Tutte”—it is light and serious, cynical and beautiful, a blend of color, wit, and Vivaldi’s music. This was Renoir’s second color film (after “The River”), and his directorial rhythm seems to falter in his work in color, but, given the film’s glow and warmth, this defect is trifling. The cinematography is by Claude Renoir. In French, English, and Italian.”

Pauline Kael