Monday, May 30, 2011

More about the photoshoot scenes in Martyr

The last time I only talked about the photoshoot scenes in Martyr involving Gabrielle, played by Veronica Paintoux. Now, I'd like to say a little about the photoshoot scenes involving Camille, played by Carmen Paintoux.

There is a certain moment in Martyr when Camille becomes the subject of Tadeusz's camera, played by Jac Avila, and Gabrielle feels pushed aside. He decides to divert from his usual style and to try something more involved with Camille. Gabrielle resents that he sees something in Camille that he does not see in her. There is something in Camille that Gabrielle simply cannot give.

In a way, we see these two women through Tadeusz's lens. We see what they give to him, that they give their bodies to make images, but they also use him to develop a part of themselves, a symbiosis. The scenarios that he makes for them, and the scenarios that the women make later on, are part of how they wish to see themselves, or perhaps also how they wish to be seen.

We do not sense in the movie that Gabrielle is merely a model, but rather that she is someone who wants to see herself as a beautiful image. Gabrielle's choice of clothing in other scenes of the movie, when there is no camera on her, speak of how she wishes to be perceived. And also connote that she is not a Puritan, they speak of her freedom, of her possessing libertine values.

Tadeusz makes it plain in the movie that he finds his inspiration from his models themselves, through his constant question and answer sessions, through his "education" of his model's by watching documentaries, research and looking at other images. By observing how they react to stimulus.

What he sees in Gabrielle and what he sees in Camille are different personalities entirely. But he views them as sources of, rather than objects of, creativity.

When we first see Camille from the perspective of Tadeusz's lens, it is with some of the same seductive qualities that we have seen before, with Gabrielle, but Camille brings a different sort of seduction to the images. There is something grittier, another kind of sexy. Tadeusz introduces iconic elements of sadomasochism; a blindfold made of red silk, he then uses the same red silk to tie Camille's hands together.

Later on in this shoot, we get a little closer to the theme Camille and Tadeusz develop later on in the film. In the image, she is straining toward the camera, we sense that in this moment, Tadeusz sees this special something in Camille, her arms spread, she looks like she might rise up off the floor and fly, yet her hands seem as if nailed to the very floor. Her expression is angelic, yet speaks of mortality, the fragility of humans.

So, what does this mean? I can tell you what it means to me, what it has meant to me.

Most overpowering is the feeling that we're there, that we're part of these moments, that the actresses are looking at us, that they're giving themselves to us. Which they are, because the act of giving is very strong in Martyr. Carmen and Veronica give a lot in this film. Something that I found, and still find every time I watch it, incredibly inspiring, so much so that I try to give more every time I act. It is in the act of giving myself to the viewer that I myself am freed.

Martyr can be found on DVD, and very soon as a download HERE!

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