May 30, 2008

sydney pollack and the ache

Via somewhere that I can’t remember right now, Trish Deitch at The New Yorker on Sydney Pollack. As a Pollack fan I’ve been reading a bunch of obits on Pollack this week, and while there’s been a lot of talk about Pollack as a classically conservative filmmaker who makes Good Films, Deitch’s post is the one that resonated with me the most…

Finding the spine of a story like “Out of Africa” was important to Sydney for many reasons, the most important of which was that it led to what he called “the ache.” The ache is self-explanatory if you’ve seen Sydney’s films. It is the ache of having one chance at deep love in a lifetime of shallow loves, and losing it too early. It is the ache of perfect, private union destroyed by terrible, worldly circumstance. For Sydney, the ache was about the way that the things we hold most dear always elude us.

“The ache” is at the core of what I love about Three Days of the Condor, Absence of Malice and even Tootsie, as well as Pollack’s acting in Husbands and Wives, Eyes Wide Shut and Michael Clayton. On the list to watch, Pollack’s documentary on Frank Gehry.