Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category


Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland deliver stunning realism in this 1971 Alan J. Pakula film.  While Ebert lauds their performances and criticizes the film’s thriller elements, its spot-on cinematography gets unfairly ignored.  The film has a polished, consistent stylishness that somehow avoids all the visual clichés of 1970s poor taste.  As the camera tracks out in Bree’s (Fonda) dark bedroom, the viewer grasps her feeling of being watched while simultaneously foreshadowing the widening scope of the intrigue. In the scene at Ligourin’s (Roy Schneider) apartment, Klute (Sutherland) stands in front of a wall display that defines prominent crosses, one of which is precisely reflected in a glass-fronted picture hanging on the opposite wall.  That’s good stuff.

The tape recorder, its wheels spinning in nefarious machination, is a brilliant and important symbol in the film.  Once set in motion, the wheels turn and govern the acts that will follow and cannot stop until the act is brought to conclusion.  While the recorder is a tool of Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi), it serves to link him with Bree by way of her psychotherapy sessions.  The startling frankness with which she speaks and the direct camera work makes these scenes appear as if pulled from a documentary.  The camera documents Bree; the recorder documents Cable.

Ebert is probably correct in questioning the effectiveness of the film as a thriller, however the visceral impact of Klute would be far less if it were entirely focused on character study.  Foreshadowing and premonition, conveyed so effectively here, raise the bar in this standout of 1970s cinema.


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