Devising material for my English class gatherings implies hard work and is never easy because not only do I have to meticulously watch all the polemic films and documentaries I bring into the classroom but also organize the whole thing in terms of vocabulary and sentence structures as well as "extracts" from the film I feel should be thoroughly looked at together with potential questions and issues I feel should be further discussed.
I have recently come across a Stevan Riley's documentary on Marlon Brando I am tempted to use in those gatherings. It is more than a moving meditation on the personal and acting life of Marlon Brando because it inevitable forces the viewers to "recalibrate" our feelings about him.
Almost narrated by the actor himself using extracts of Marlon Brando's 300 hundred hour self-made hypnosis cassettes Stevan Riley created a mesmerising collage of poetic illumination using film clips and archival footage from Brando as well.
I must confess I had no idea who the real Marlon was behind the acting and maybe I never tried to find out because the image I had created in my mind was the one conveyed by the media and I believed it couldn't surely be much different. I have been proved wrong.
"Autobiographical in nature, unconventional in structure, this is the story of Marlon Brando not as the world saw him but as he saw himself (...) it reveals Brando to be almost painfully sensitive and self-aware, a man with questioning intelligence who could be piercingly candid about his life and work (...) it is a revelatory, strikingly emotional look at a complex, troubled and enormously gifted man." - Keneth Turan