Invest in Failure (Notes on Film 06-C, Monologue 03)
If the history of cinema would add up to one movie, who would star in it? So far in his work Norbert Pfaffenbichler has suggested several possibilities: Lon Chaney? Or Boris Karlof? Their screen qualities are undisputed. But for an actual male lead of said imaginary movie the most recent of Pfaffenbichler’s star examinations would probably seem the most plausible: INVEST IN FAILURE (NOTES ON FILM 06C / MONOLOGUE 03) is all about – and with – James Mason. The British actor worked for Alfred Hitchcock and Vincente Minnelli, his career went long beyond the demise of classical Hollywood (or the British studio system) and included controversial titles like MANDINGO and, of course, LOLITA, where he was Humbert Humbert. INVEST IN FAILURE is not a career survey, though. Pfaffenbichler is interested in the inner workings of cinematic story telling. The star persona of Mason is a lead into the mysteries of shot and countershot, of framing and materiality, and of attraction: “You look like James Mason”, someone says to Mason at one point. Well, that is because he is (or was) always James Mason, while we was Humbert Humbert, or Rupert of Hentzau (in THE PRISONER OF ZENDA), or General Rommel, or countless other parts of one immense character. (Bert Rebhandl)
With LIGHT MATTER and WATER AND CLEARING.
In the presence of Norbert Pfaffenbichler.
- James Mason