September 23, 2007

Silenced.

Portly Pirate says "I think we can all agree that a moment of silence is appropriate, can't we?" And so begins the outpouring of silence = death bons mots at the news that Marcel Marceau has died.

There's also "Walking Against the Wind." I was thinking of saying something along the lines of Walking Against the Eternal Darkness.

And before you unleash the now-conventional hatred of mimes -- there was a point, around 1972, when everyone started to say "I hate mimes" after years of finding mimes fascinating and profound -- let's remember the man who started it. His real name was Marcel Mangel, and his family changed that last name to Marceau to hide from the Nazis.
With his brother Alain, Marceau became active in the French Resistance. Marceau altered children's identity cards, changing their birth dates to trick the Germans into thinking they were too young to be deported. Because he spoke English, he was recruited to be a liaison officer with Gen. George S. Patton's army.

In 1944, Marceau's father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died.

Later, he reflected on his father's death: "Yes, I cried for him."

But he also thought of all the others killed: "Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who (would have) found a cancer drug," he told reporters in 2000. "That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another."...

Marceau likened his character [Bip] to a modern-day Don Quixote, "alone in a fragile world filled with injustice and beauty."
Show some unspoken love today.

22 comments:

Lauren said...

Marceau photos
http://tinyurl.com/2up7m8

bill said...

Go see Billy the Mime: The Flea Theater New York Aug 23-Sept 29

Here he is doing the life of JFK, JR

and the Aristocrats joke

Bob said...

I'm waiting for Hitchens to savage him. I know it's coming, I can feel it in my bones.

*laughs*

Bob said...

Thanks for the linkage, by the way. Much appreciated, even if I don't tear myself away from EverQuest to blog very often.

*grins*

Bob said...

And that's an amazing clip, by the way. I love French musette music anyway, that made a good accompaniment.

Mary said...

I don't know...

Holocaust sympathy is still a strong card to play, but not sure if it's powerful enough to overcome America's cultural hatred of mimes. :)

Mary said...

And Frenchmen.

Paddy O. said...

.

reader_iam said...

I got to see him live, once, at the University of Delaware, back in the '70s. Wonderful. I even got to go back stage!!! (Sometimes being the kid of performing artists had its perks.) Enthralled then, still a great memory now.

I like (good) mimes. But I have persistently ended up in circles of people who mostly don't, and make mime jokes. This is just my experience, but: the most virulent haters of mimes among people I've known have always seemed to be male. I've always found that interesting.

R.I.P, Marcel Marceau.

AJ Lynch said...

Did he have any last words?

EDH said...

Did the genuine disdain for mimes encompass Marceau? Wasn't the original critque in response to the profusion of cheap imitators?

Ironically, as if to mimic poorly those purists, a bandwagon effect formed that seemed to elict an almost universal ridicule of the artform. Except that these trendy mimics wouldn't shut-up about how much they hatred mimes, occasionally to the point of violence. Revealing.

Vivre de l'original, Marceau!

greg.obyrne said...

He appears in Mel Brooks' movie, "Silent Movie". Mel Brooks is going around Hollywood trying to get actors to appear in his movie.

It is a silent movie.

Only one person has a speaking role.

Marcel Marceau says, "No".

Brilliant.

Rodrigian said...

I believe the music on the video is not French musette music as suggested by Bob, but the tango "Por una cabeza", composed by Gardel and Lepera in 1935. (Gardel loved horse races and the song is about his favorite losing "by a head".) The remarkable fit to Marcel Marceau's gracious movements is a tribute to the skill of the editor and the fact that great artists speak a universal language.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry said...

I got to see the great entertainer at the Rialto Square Theater 15-20 years ago. History was made, they said,[a news column] the previous evening in Aurora IL [Paramount Arts Theater] when there was a power outage during his performance. He spoke! Apologized to the audience.

Ulric said...

The general contempt for mimes burst into public view on December 17, 1982, with the release of Tootsie. Towards the end of that movie, a depressed Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) pushes down an arabesquing mime. All of America realized at that moment what at some level they always knew: most mimes suck.

Marceau was an exception to that. He was the best thing about the 1976 film Silent Movie.

Chip Ahoy said...

Help! I'm trapped in a box and I can't get out.

I always believed, as soon as I saw it, that Michael Jackson studied Marcel Marceau for his moonwalk, then totally elaborated.

For awhile I recall people leaning on imaginary mantles just to be silly.

halojones-fan said...

She never told me that she was a MIME!

Peter Palladas said...

Modern ballet is just mime to music.

Peter Palladas said...

Jean-Louis Barrault in 'Les Enfants du Paradis.'

Magnificent.

I say no more.

blake said...

Yes, I think the problem is that most mimes aren't very interesting.

I loved Bill Irwin's "The Regard of Flight", on the other hand. We didn't use the "m" word in talking about it. That wouldn't be hip.

I can't find any clips of it, unfortunately, and it doesn't seem to be on DVD. YouTube lets me down by just having a couple of clips here and here.

Paulos said...

Michael Jackson DID model his famous moonwalk after Marcel Marceau. Also, regarding another comment, Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL does indeed have the distinction of being the one (or one of the VERY few) place(s) that Marceau spoke from the stage, for the reason given: thanking the audience for their patience during a power outage of some sort.

I know this because I was there.