Placeholder for “Carlos” (2010)

2 February 2012

I’ve been working my way through the 5 ½ hour made-for-TV epic (clearly in France, they have a very different kind of “made-for-TV”) by Olivier Assayas, starring the terrific Venezuelan actor Édgar Ramírez as the 1970s international terrorist Carlos the Jackal. I’ve got a lot to say. But because I’m racing around today, and because my thoughts need to cohere, I’m going to point out that the real Carlos (left) is a very different-looking man.

What?!? A filmmaker found a better-looking guy to play the part?? Stop the presses!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Remember at the end of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), when they all show up to watch the Hollywood version of Pee Wee’s story — and it turns out they got James Brolin and Morgan Fairchild to play Pee Wee and Dottie, and Pee Wee himself was reduced to a hotel clerk?

But keep it in mind anyway. There are some strange things going on in Assayas’s Carlos, and they have to do with sex & gender, and I feel like saying them.

I also feel like noting that the 70s were whack. Between Carlos and the amazing documentary Man on Wire (2008) about Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the two World Trade Center buildings, I feel as if I have no understanding whatsoever of a decade during which I was actually alive.

4 Responses to “Placeholder for “Carlos” (2010)”

  1. Spanish Prof Says:

    I made it through the 5 and a half hours on just one Saturday afternoon/night. Waiting for your thoughts.

  2. neil Says:

    I saw Carlos about a year ago and was utterly fascinated by it. There really is too much to talk about with it.

    Also agree about your comment on the ’70s and Man on Wire.

  3. JE Says:

    On the question of filmmakers getting someone better looking to play you, Newt Gingrich has opined that he sees Brad Pitt playing him, should there ever be a biopic of his life.

    Gingrich: “If you’re going to go for it, you gotta relax and let your imagination soar.”

    Part of me would like to think he’s trying to be funny, but since he just assured us that his proposed moon base will have a gift shop, I’ve gotta conclude that it’s just Newt in crazy mode.

    • Didion Says:

      Well, that’s apropos. Just when I’m thinking that the facts about the 70s are way more whack than fiction about the 70s, I’m reminded that this might be a fact that is always true.

      Seriously, though, I’m not sure I’d trust Pitt with the role of Newt. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a better physical match but I’d like to give it to Kevin Spacey, perhaps — someone with a real feel for the kind of battle where you actually have to bite people to win. Obviously, it needs to go to someone who’s never been Pitt-style gorgeous, someone with a different way of being inside his own skin. Someone like Spacey believes on a cellular level that he’s the smartest guy in the room, and believes he’s got the sheer charisma to charm the pants off the ladies. Believes everything he does is moral and upright, and that he is allowed to say anything to get his way.

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