Money and Chaplin
I love the photo in this article because I can recognize myself and all Spain on it. I know our future will be something like terrible, apocalyptic or similar but, as the great Charlot learnt us, we need to smile to see –or imagine- a better future. I usually imagine myself and Jack –my dog, in fact very similar to the dog of the photo- asking for some meat and trying to survive in this current Spain.
I remember my adolescence and when I watched his films, a real dark comedy under the times of the Industrial Revolution. I saw desolation and junkies, hungers and kids playing to be adult into an isolated world. We can now smile watching him eating a shoe but, in fact, his stories were terrific realistic and this was the success formula. When Walt Disney looked people crying in the premier of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, he said something similar to ‘I am saved’ because he also knew that this combination of reality, comedy, tears and irony usually carries tons of benefits.
I won’t speak about economics but I would like to underline this ironic point in these times. How can poorness create richness? How can the poorness make us smile? I recommend Chaplin’s old silent films to find the secret of the comedy in its purest form as I recommend Fritz Lang’s silent films to feel the essence of cinema. Chaplin thought that the sound would end with the sound -‘Nobody’s perfect’ would answer Mr. Wilder years later-. In fact, I think something lost when the sound came. Of course I love good sound films –I’m not an alien- but when we watch back Eisenstein’s films we can feel something more intense, like if cinema were a little more art and a little less entertainment and this is precisely the most ironic point about money. Yes, the travel of the great business of cinema began one day with a little idea trying to make art, a little idea that would entertain millions and millions of people but the creation of this dream has a cost, like everything in this world. Irony, again. In the first ages of the 20th century the arts were changing… impressionism, expressionism and cubism and one thousand more of movements… and, of course, the king of the arts in the century: the cinema!
After the silent films era, Chaplin did his most remembered films but he never forgot his silent movies and his techniques. He didn’t use to make elaborated scenes because he preferred to lay eyes on the actors and the scene (he used to say that he didn’t do interesting shots because he was interesting).
Today, we need to remember Chaplin not only as a master of comedy but as the master of irony and a master of movies.