I have been watching human genius radiating from the screen: Peter O’Toole is the man. I feel I have discovered him, I guess in the same familiar sense that Columbus discovered America. I watched one of his old films recently: The Ruling Class. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen for 2 hours and 34 minutes. I mean that. His physicality, his eyes, his voice, and his voice, and his voice. It filled the whole screen, the whole film. Light as a feather, he changed characters as a Chameleon changes colours. But then it was really his voice, the intonations, the emphases, the stresses, the changes of pitch. Far better than many singers, he changed pitches so rapidly, so smoothly that I doubted whether I heard him right. He is a marvel. I know he has passed away, but looking at him on the screen somehow tells me he is still there. Here. With those who can see him and connect with what he does. I was reminded of Akropolis which I also saw on screen. Human body turning into objects; voices and bodies joining in creating an effect I have not been able to forget all these years. Not that I tried! And then Burton in “The Night of the Iguana”… They all had more than great acting in common; this is in addition to great screenplay, direction, … : they all happened in the past!
And that brings me to another point: lack of acting today in far too many films from all over the world. And that is painfully obvious in our own cinema. The lifeless eyes, the rigid voices, the tense, stiff bodies of the actors/actresses make me stop watching most of the films very early on. I can hardly go through any of them. I remembered an Iranian actress (in theatre) saying that fewer and fewer people got trained as actors, and they, in fact, took pride in that! Worse than that, like many other things, performing arts in Iran increasingly resembles tiny dynasties where opportunities are passed on from parents or other relatives to sons, daughters, wives, or … regardless of their aptitude or training. The result is many unfortunate matches on the screen: lifeless films unable to move just as their actors and actresses.