Rampling is known for her 'look,' that famously penetrating gaze that eminates from her heavily lidded eyes, but in The Look, she's also looking deeply into her own psyche and that of other artists -- filmmakers, photographers and other performers -- with whom she's worked over the years.
A Series of Telling Conversations
Rampling in Eight Acts
Using white print on black intertitles, Maccarone divides the film into eight sections, each focusing on one of Rampling's conversations with one of her colleagues, and each dealing with a theme: exposure, age, resonance, taboo, desire, demons, death and love. Heavy subjects they are, but never handled in a heavy handed way.
When archival photos or footage are edited into each section's central conversation, Rampling's comments continue as voice over narration -- except when scenes from her movies are inserted, and we hear Rampling at play with Woody Allen, Dirk Bogard, Lynn Redgrave and other stars with whom she has shared the screen.
The movie clips are a great reminder of the fullness of Rampling's on camera career, but we also see her shooting photographs, even turning her lens on photographer Peter Lindbergh, leading him to experience for the first time what it feels like to be so scrutinized. Rampling enjoys his moment of enlightenment. She is obviously quite accustomed to being in front of a camera, and has learned to be self aware rather than self conscious. And, that's a characteristic she seems to apply to all aspects of her life.
Rampling, who has managed to escape the discriminating ageism moviemakers foist upon females, seems ageless. Speaking frankly, she remarks that people put her in movies because she was beautiful -- not as pretty as her sister, she says, but quite photogenic. She is beautiful and photogenic still. But she has an ego strong enough and sufficiently little vanity to care much about that. Her focus is, instead, on seeing where her humanity and life's great adventure will take her next. And, you've got to love her for that.
Craft-wise, The Look is as pleasing as some of the wonderful films excerpted within it. Cinematographer Bernd Meiners is a reassuringly non-invasive observer, and editor Bettina Böhler is a master of nuance and timing.
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- Title: The Look
- Directors: Angelina Maccarone
- Release Date: November 4, 2011 (limited theatrical release)
- Running Time: 90 mins.
- Parents Advisory: Content advisory for parents for nudity, language.
- Locations: Paris, Germany, New York and elsewhere
- Language: English and French, with subtitles
- Distribution: Kino Lorber
- Official Website