January 28th, 2007

A Beautiful Mask

Posted in Images, Quotes by DavidE


Image from Queen Christina (1933)

“Garbo asked me, ‘What do I play in this scene?’ Remember she is standing there for 150 feet of film — 90 feet of them in close-up. I said, ‘Have you heard of tabula rasa? I want your face to be a blank sheet of paper. I want the writing to be done by every member of the audience. I’d like it if you could avoid even blinking your eyes, so that you’re nothing but a beautiful mask.’ So in fact there is nothing on her face: but everyone who has seen the film will tell you what she is thinking and feeling. And always it’s something different. Each one writes his own ending to the film; and it’s interesting that this is the scene everyone remembers most clearly. . . .”

– Rouben Mamoulian, speaking about the final shot in Queen Christina, interviewed for Sight & Sound (Summer 1961)

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