Charlie Chaplin, undisputed genius of the seventh art - The360 PlayBuzz

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  • Friday, November 29, 2019

    Charlie Chaplin, undisputed genius of the seventh art

    Charlie Chaplin, undisputed genius of the seventh art

    All the comedians of the world worship him, and so do the filmmakers. The influence of Charlie Chaplin remains undeniable 40 years after his death. The critic André Lavoie recounts the comic and critical work of the great Charlot, also evoking his tumultuous life between America and Europe. 

    His work is inseparable from the character of a tramp with a big heart that he staged in all his films. Charlot is the supreme incarnation of the traditional pierrot, a sublimated representation of the common man, the insane worker, sometimes candid, but often combative, in search of emancipation. "Chaplin, however, is careful not to make a saint, says André Lavoie. He is an individualist who protests against industrialization above all for the sake of personal happiness, not out of a desire to see reformed capitalism. He is also violent at times, not hesitating to use the blows when he wants to defend himself and take his place."

    Crazy talent and bold audacity

    Charlie Chaplin first appears on stage in his native England, then on tour in the United States. It was there that he was noticed by a Keystone studio producer, who hired him in December 1914 and gradually invited him to make films. Chaplin is convinced that he will do much better than the crude comedies that Keystone produced so far. He promises to make films that are just as effective on the narrative level, but more rigorous. Mission accomplished from his first short films, which give birth to the character of Charlot.

    When he makes the feature film, his rise continues and he becomes one of the first film icons, one of the first popular stars on a global scale: a true cultural phenomenon.

    He has the elbow room and gets the budget he needs to make the movies he wants. From his masterful work, let's distinguish The Kid (1921), his first feature film highlighting the crazy talent of child-actor Jackie Coogan, then Modern Times (1936), his masterpiece on the alienation of the worker, and finally The dictator (1940), in which he dares to make fun of Adolf Hitler.

    A tumultuous life

    Flirted from one house to another during his childhood, because of an alcoholic father and an unstable mother, he also grew up in a difficult economic climate in industrial England in crisis. This marks his imagination and makes him very vulnerable: he feels particularly guilty throughout his life of becoming rich by playing a character of vagabond. It's a paradox he does not know how to assume.

    In everyday life, it can be brittle and violent. His married life is effervescent and stormy. After realizing The dictator, he is forced into exile. His political positions embarrass the US government. And the fact that he never asked for US citizenship is problematic. He becomes in a way a pariah and ends his life in Switzerland.

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