The Statue

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 1, 2015

This is an uninterrupted sequence shot from a fixed camera position, and the backdrop is artificial, theatrically rendered. The actors gesticulate, exaggerate. M. Méliès still, obviously, reigns preeminent. But though his significance looms large, The Statue is not just a knock-off. For instance, note the spaciousness and classicism of those backgrounds. The performances are broad—not too broad, mind—but the space is sparsely populated, so that the comedy has some room to breathe. Note the practically patient pausing between the various bits of business. The five minutes of the film’s duration are very well paced and filled, especially because that pacing and filling includes caesuras and confident transitions. And as with the best of the Méliès films, this really serves notice that static cameras and proscenium frames still allow for plenty of plain cinematic direction. The heroic statue taking whacks at the buffoonish friends is doubtless conventional, or another charming version of the usual knock-about. But Miss Guy is starting to look like a pretty confident filmmaker, and a pretty damned good one as well.