The American dream from Hawks to Carpenter at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse

The American dream from Hawks to Carpenter at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse
The American dream from Hawks to Carpenter at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse

the essential
Until June 30, the Toulouse Cinematheque is doubly celebrating the seventh art by screening the greatest films by two American directors who are often inseparable from each other: the iconic Howard Hawks and the rebel John Carpenter.

Carpenter having never hidden the influence that Hawks may have had on his filmography, it was unthinkable not to offer a cross-section of the two directors. “Carpenter is part of the Hawks lineage,” explains Franck Lubet, head of programming at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse. “It made no sense to do two separate retrospectives.” If Carpenter is a recognized filmmaker today, this was not always the case, just like Hawks. “Cahiers du cinéma were the first to consider Hawks as an author within a studio. As for Carpenter, the change in outlook over the last few years on genre cinema has made him a must for cinephiles current”, continues Franck Lubet. For some, Hawks will be a real discovery.

“The younger generation knows Carpenter very well. They have seen Assault but not Rio Bravo while these two films have a lot in common”, adds the programmer. Indeed the two filmmakers have very marked similarities in their way of filming. “Their staging is effective and without artifice, always in the service of the story and characters.” Characters defined by action: “They have a mission to accomplish and act accordingly in relation to what they know how to do to achieve a goal. They don’t adapt to the situation, they dominate it.”

From classics to curiosities

Difficult to choose from two such rich filmographies but regarding Hawks it is impossible to ignore “The Port of Anguish” which reveals on film the bewitching encounter between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. With “Go Sleep Elsewhere!”, the filmmaker dabbles in eccentric comedy by cross-dressing actor Cary Grant who embarks on a boat to find his wife after the Second World War.

Apart from classics, Carpenter’s filmography includes the curious and nevertheless moving “Roman d’Elvis”, a TV film looking back on the life of the King played by the magnetic Kurt Russell. “The Adventures of an Invisible Man” remains perhaps his least known film but in which he continues to question the place of different individuals in a society that crushes them.

“Hawks/Carpenter”, until June 30 at the Cinémathèque de Toulouse (69, rue du Taur).
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