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Clint Eastwood

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ Exemplifies Clint Eastwood’s Minimalistic Filmmaking

When hearing the name Clint Eastwood, there are a few different images that may pop into one’s head. His starring roles as the Man with no Name in Sergio Leone’s classic Dollars Trilogy or as antihero Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry films are top contenders, both of which established him as one of Hollywood’s greatest action stars. For the directing side of his career, his Academy Award-winning work on Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby would also be high up the list, as would his recent turn towards prestigious dramas with films like American Sniper or Sully. What probably wouldn’t crop into someone’s head, however, is a romance co-starring Meryl Streep about a man who photographs bridges for a living, and whose leisurely pace and soft-spoken aesthetic seems tailor-made for viewing on a Sunday afternoon.

The Bridges of Madison County might appear to be a million miles from Eastwood’s other work, but in practice it’s the perfect showcase for his talents as a filmmaker. Eastwood’s style of directing has always championed minutia over grandness, reveling in the moments that other directors may find inconsequential. Rather than opting for sweeping camerawork or lavish orchestra soundtracks that feel like they’re about to lift you off your feet, Eastwood has always been happy to keep himself at a distance, letting his actors take center stage. It’s an approach that stems from beginning his career in front of the camera rather than behind it, with Eastwood gradually developing his craft to quietly become one of America’s greatest directors, and nowhere is that more evident than The Bridges of Madison County.

Adapted from the Robert James Waller novel of the same name, the film tells the story of Francesca Johnson (Streep), an Italian war bride who lives with her husband and two children in 1960s America. After her family leaves town to attend a fair, she crosses paths with Robert Kincaid (Eastwood), a photographer for National Geographic who has come to photograph the county’s historic bridges. Francesca agrees to help him, and soon after the two begin an intense four-day affair. As established in the film’s present-day opening, this relationship does not last, with Francesca knowing she will ultimately return to her family, but it leaves a profound effect on them both that lingers for the rest of their lives. It’s a simple story, and its relaxed pace ensures the audience will have plenty of time to soak up their doomed romance. But, as with many masterworks, its brilliance comes not from the story itself but rather how it is presented, and it’s here that Eastwood’s talents shine.

The Bridges of Madison County is a film where very little happens. Now, obviously that is hyperbolic. Clearly things happen or there wouldn’t be much of a film to talk about, but the film lacks anything in terms of grand set pieces or large emotional moments which seem included only for its actors to get nominations at that year’s Academy Awards (not that that stopped Streep getting nominated anyway). Except that’s not true either. The Bridges of Madison County is a film where an entire tsunami of things occurs, it’s just that they’re little more than tiny droplets that a casual observer might carelessly brush aside. But what is an ocean if not a multitude of drops, and together they form one of the most powerful depictions of romance in cinema.

Where The Bridges of Madison County excels is in these smaller moments, an example of which can be seen when Francesca and Robert visit Roseman Bridge shortly after meeting for the first time. The sequence in question is rather simple, with Robert taking some test shots in preparation for the proper shoot the following day, but Eastwood’s quiet but efficient direction transforms it into something far more interesting. There’s a playful nervousness to the scene, with Francesca struggling to process the handsome stranger who has just waltzed into her life. From the way she is unable to keep her arms still (crossing and uncrossing them, rubbing them, touching her face with them, and finally pretending to swat imaginary flies with them), to how her entire demeanor subtly changes depending on if she’s in view of Robert or not. Shortly after Robert picks her a bundle of flowers, which he quickly drops when Francesca jokes that they’re poisonous. While gathering them back up, both have a moment when they gaze longingly at the other, but only when the other person isn’t watching. It lasts for a fraction of a second, but that’s all it has to be. With just a few frames Eastwood has planted the seeds of their romance, ready to sprout in the following two hours. It’s visual storytelling at its finest, and sets a precedent the rest of the film is more than happy to follow.

It’s moments like this that make The Bridges of Madison County the masterwork that it is, and what’s most impressive is how Eastwood sustains this throughout the film. The entire breadth of their relationship can be understood from their body language alone, moving from casual acquaintances to close friends to intimate lovers based solely on the brush of an arm here or an affectionate smile there. Not a second is wasted, and Eastwood’s stripped-back approach ensures all possible distractions are removed. There’s a cleanliness to how he utilizes the camera, with images free of all but the most essential ingredients, subtly guiding the viewer without ever making its presence known. The soundscape, a symphony of crickets chirping across the open plains of Iowa while ancient cars drive past on distant highways, sucks the viewer into its world. The film rarely uses music, and what little there is blends seamlessly into the background, existing only to add the final touches like sprinkles on an ice cream sundae. It’s a simple approach to directing, and you’d be forgiven for watching the film without ever consciously noticing any of these decisions, but that’s exactly the point. Eastwood films go to a lot of effort not to be noticed, but there’s a deliberateness to everything that can only be fully appreciated on a second watch.

This approach reaches its peak during Francesca and Robert’s final scene. Unable to abandon her family, Francesca returns to the mundanity of her previous life, but a love as powerful as the one she has just experienced is not something that disappears overnight. One afternoon, while sitting in her car and waiting for her husband to return from the shop, Francesca spots Robert standing on the sidewalk. He begins to approach, but stops. Instead he just looks at her, and she looks right back, and then he leaves. It’s an incredibly basic scene when just describing it, but its simplicity is exactly what makes it the film’s greatest moment. There’s no dialogue, no emotional outburst as one or both break down in tears, just the image of two ill-fated lovers staring at each other as rain beats down upon the world. The flicker of a smile they both share as memories of the past four days pour over them is one of the most heartbreaking images in cinema, and made all the more depressing by the way Robert just leaves straight after. The scene immediately after, where Francesca toys with her door handle as she debates running after him, all the while her husband remains oblivious to the emotional turmoil occurring right next to him, showcases Eastwood’s ability to make even the simplest of actions into moments of unimaginable tension. What other film has the act of opening a car door be the emotional crux that two hours of build-up have led to, let alone one that manages to pull it off flawlessly? It’s filmmaking in its purest form, with only the slight movement of a hand saying more than an entire monologue ever could. It might not have the flair of a typical Clint Eastwood action scene, but its understanding of the medium’s strengths remains identical.

But at the end of the day, what really is the difference between a shootout in the Wild West and two lovers saying goodbye in the American Midwest. On a fundamental level they’re both nothing more than scripted movement, captured by a camera and then arranged on an editing timeline for the sake of an audience. The celebration of movement is what defines cinema, with the camera allowing us a close-up view at the most intimate of moments in a way other mediums cannot replicate. The Bridges of Madison County, much like all of the films directed by Clint Eastwood, delights in this belief. It’s a film that effortlessly translates its source material from page to screen, transforming its story to fit the new medium without ever forgetting its basic principles. It may not have the grandeur of Unforgiven or the spectacle of a Dirty Harry film, but it does have some of the most quietly effective filmmaking in cinema with two career-best performances at its core (no small claim given the success of both actors). It’s proof that simplicity can often be the greatest thing a film can do, and exemplifies how Eastwood has mastered the art of minimalistic filmmaking.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s one-of-a-kind incarnation in Bridges of Madison County (1995).

There was a time when Clint Eastwood, in his twin guises of director and movie star, was simple and easy to pin down: a manly, macho, “think with your fists” sort of guy, the kind who was all about Westerns and war pictures and crime movies where the bad guys were easy to sort out and easier to kill. Pepper in a few comedies, but even those were pretty masculine and violent.

This state of affairs took a turn for the weird in the late ’80s, when Eastwood directed Bird, a jazz biopic, and White Hunter, Black Heart, an unclassifiable critique of moviemaking and moviemakers, and ever since then his career has lunged strangely from place to place, sometimes with success and sometimes not, but always exploring: there are many things you can say against Hereafter, for example, but one of them is not that it finds the director resting on his laurels.

Still and all, the film that remains the furthest outlier in the Eastwood canon, I am convinced, simply must be The Bridges of Madison County from 1995, which found the director/star trying his hand at a melodramatic weeper, what they would have called a “woman’s picture” back in the ’40s, which is about the same moviemaking epoch that the film hearkens back to.

That Dirty Harry Callahan, that the Man with No Name, would have seen fit to go for broke and make an unabashed chick flick is still surprising, but not half as surprising as the finished product, which adapts a by-all-accounts disposable romance novel into an absolutely devastating tragic love story, and is among the very best films in Eastwood’s career, as director or as actor.

And yet, it is also not very surprising at all. His entire living filmmaker tries so consistently and so re-recreating the bare-bones essence of factory-made cinema from the golden age of the studios: he is the most old-fashioned of directors His in that respect, and some of his best films have been dusty old formulas given a light contemporary dusting.

The Bridges of Madison County is assuredly a dusty old romance: save for the word “fuck” and some carefully PG-13, fire-dappled lovemaking scenes, there’s hardly a scene in it that wouldn’ve have played, more or less, exactly the same way in a movie made 50 years earlier. Perhaps it is the case that Bridges is more naturalistic, lit and shot to look much more like everyday reality, and acted with none of the swooning excesses that the soap-operatic scenario would have enjoyed in the immediate post-war era. But there’s a much shorter line between this and a Douglas Sirk picture than the vast gulf in personality separation Sirk from Eastwood would suggest.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is powerless and finds a way to fight CBD sellers who overuse his name.

Clint Eastwood sued several companies that sell CBD supplements in late July, alleging that they are falsely using his name and image to push products he would never agree to endorse.Two lawsuits filed in federal court in Los Angeles include allegations that companies have spread phony articles reporting that the 90-year-old actor-director is quitting the movie business to focus on a CBD business.

The lawsuits say Eastwood has no part in the manufacture, sale or promotion of CBD, a chemical derived from marijuana sold as a dietary supplement or often included in creams and ointments.In the suits that seek millions in damages, Eastwood names as defendants nearly 20 small companies, based in states including Arizona, California, Delaware and Florida, that sell CBD, along with up to 60 anonymous entities that may be named later.

One of the companies, Sera Labs, said in a statement that it “worked for a limited time with a publisher and gave them specific advertisements they could use which follow our very strict guidelines and shut down the ads immediately after learning that they used Eastwood’s name and likeness.”

The company said prohibit using such false claims in its ads and has severed all relationships with the advertiser, and it represents the same others in the industry to do the same industry.Other companies named in the suit, including Patriot Supreme and Norok Innovation Inc., did not immediately respond to messages seeking comments.

The suit says phony news articles on Eastwood and his supposed championing and selling of CBD have been spread via email and social media.The headline on one such story reads: “Big Pharma In Outrage Over Clint Eastwood’s CBD … He Fires Back With This!”

Another headline says, “Breaking News: Clint Eastwood Exposes Shocking Secret Today. “The story includes links to purchase what it claims are Eastwood’s CBD products and quotes from a fabricated interview where Eastwood says he has moved on from the film business. That article also includes fake testimonials about the products from several celebrities, the suit says.One of the suits also alleges that companies are using hidden tags and other tactics that link Eastwood’s name to their products in online searches.

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Clint Eastwood

Surprised by the tragic ending about Clint Eastwood’s ex-girlfriend .

For some casual movie fans, little is known about Sondra Locke beyond her connection to Clint Eastwood, her long-term boyfriend and frequent collaborator. While she was busy putting together a strong career, which included earning an Academy Award nomination for her acting debut in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and directing four films, Eastwood loomed over many of her achievements. And her relationship with the For a Few Dollars More star was not the only difficult chapter of her life.

It seemed that at every step along the way, Locke was met by a new obstacle to deal with and a new challenge to overcome. In her quest to achieve great success in Tinsel Town, she found herself at odds against her family, the industry, and, yes, Eastwood. In the end, she led a rather remarkable life that should have stood out on its own. She endured threats to her career, her livelihood, and even her life, but Locke’s legacy remains shrouded by the larger-than-life persona and name of her former significant other.

Here are some of the tragic details about Clint Eastwood’s ex-girlfriend, Sondra Locke.Sondra Locke was born in Tennessee as Sandra Smith. According to The Independent, her father was a soldier who was out of the picture before she was born. Her last name was later changed to that of her stepfather’s, Alfred Locke. She also took on the stage name, Sondra. As a young woman, Locke had dreams of becoming an actor, but her family dissuaded her.

In her autobiography, The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly, Locke recalls a rift growing between her and her mother for years, and at 19 years old, a fight between them gave her the push she needed to leave. She remembered her mother telling her she could “pack your bags, girl, and get outta here” if she wasn’t up for doing as she was told. So, Locke did just that, and she never looked back.

Locke wrote in her book that, in nearly 30 years, she and her mother had “a handful of conversations and short visits.” Locke would never truly reconcile with her parents, but she had no regrets. “It made no sense for any of us to spend our lives pretending to have relationships that did not really exist,” she explained in the memoir. “And even though it is my nature to feel responsible and guilty, even when I’m not significant, I never felt that way about my decision to walk away from my parents’ home.”

Sandra Locke and her ‘Prince Charming’ didn’t last : Sondra Locke met Clint Eastwood in 1975 while shooting The Outlaw Josey Wales. The two instantly fell in love. Locke embarked on a 14-year relationship with the man who, as the Los Angeles Times reported in 1996, she once believed was her “Prince Charming.” She also starred in six films with him along the way.

That said, it sounds like Locke’s time with “Prince Charming” wasn’t exactly a fairy tale. She claimed Eastwood became possessive, and when she tried to expand her career without him, he allegedly reacted negatively. “I worked exclusively with Clint,” she said in 1996 (via E!). “He didn’t like the idea of ​​me being away from him.”

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