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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.

Clint Eastwood

2 of Clint Eastwood’s Most Famous Oscar-Winning Films Were Turned Down By Major Studios in Favor of Over-Cooked Formulaic Blockbusters

Clint Eastwood has proven time and time again throughout his almost seven-decade-old and counting career that he is not just an incredible actor, but one of the most exceptionally remarkable filmmakers as well. His big-screen works like Dirty Harry and Gran Torino are the living proof of his legendary legacy that he is currently carrying forward.
Clint Eastwood in a still from The Mule

Clint Eastwood in a still from The Mule
But the true potential of his spectacular works wasn’t always visible to the production companies and studios, a major reason behind this was the ‘over-cooked formulaic’ blockbusters that most of the major studios were in favor of. In fact, two of Eastwood’s super famous and Oscar-winning films to date, Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River, were almost engulfed in these flames and never made!
Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River Were Almost Never Made
A still from Mystic River (2003)A still from Mystic River (2003)
Although Clint Eastwood has given the entertainment industry some of the best works of all time, many in the industry once failed to recognize his true filmmaking potential – something that put the existence of two of his blockbusters, Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River, in danger.
As revealed by him in an interview shared by The Clint Eastwood Archive, the actor shared how initially major studios failed to realize the true potential of Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River. He said:
“I liked the Million Dollar Baby script a lot,” he said. “Warner Bros. said the project had been submitted to them and they’d passed on it. I said, ‘But I like it.’ They said, ‘Well, it’s a boxing movie.’ And I said, ‘It’s not a boxing movie in my opinion. It’s a father-daughter love story, and it’s a lot of other things besides a boxing movie.’”
Continuing, he let out how little the studios were willing to help him financially for the film.
“They hemmed and hawed and finally said that if I wanted to take it, maybe they’d pay for the domestic rights only. After that, I’d be on my own.”
Since that obviously wasn’t a good enough price, Eastwood found himself out on search once again.
“We took it to a couple of other studios, and they turned it down, much like Mystic River was turned down — the exact same pattern. People who kept calling and saying, ‘Come on, work with us on stuff.’ I’d give it to them, and they’d go, ‘Uh, we were thinking more in terms of Dirty Harry coming out of retirement.’ And who knows? Maybe when it comes out they’ll be proven right.”
Just like that, because of over-cooked formulaic blockbusters like Dirty Harry, two of Clint Eastwood’s most famous Oscar-winning movies were turned down by major studios.
How Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River Came To Be
A still from Million Dollar Baby (2004)A still from Million Dollar Baby (2004)
In another interview (via East Bay Times), Clint Eastwood shared insights into his decisions for making the “bleak and the bleaker”: Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, and how the films came to be.
“At this particular time in my life, I’m not doing anything as a moneymaker,” Eastwood said. “It’s like I’m pushing the envelope the other way to see how far we can go to be noncommercial.”
The filmmaker then let out what helped him get away with making both of the movies:
“I didn’t know if ‘Mystic River’ would go over at all… But I just told Warners the same thing I did with ‘Million Dollar Baby’: ‘I don’t know if this is going to make any money. But I think I can make a picture that you’d be proud to have in your library.’”
That statement most certainly seemed to work as both Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River earned the approval of the studios and went on to do wonders on the big screens as well as on the audience’s hearts—even ending up garnering numerous Oscar nominations and wins to add up to Clint Eastwood‘s star-studded collection!

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Clint Eastwood

Shyam Benegal: ‘You Don’t Have To Give The Audience What They Want; You Have To Create Something New…”

Circa 50 years ago, Shyam Benegal was in the vanguard of the offbeat cinema movement with path-breaking 1970s films such as Ankur (Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag), Nishant (Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah), Manthan (Smita Patil, Girish Karnad) and Bhumika (Smita Patil, Amol Palekar). Benegal’s filmmaking, though, started even earlier. He reminds us, “My career didn’t start with feature films. I have made several documentaries before and since that were very satisfying too.” And of course he went on to helm the seminal TV show Bharat Ek Khoj.In his late 80s now, Benegal is still in the thick of things. Mention his latest film, Mujib: The Making Of A Nation, and he quips, “That has been completed and released.” He is immersed in the present, where the current mood of cinema, especially OTT, is in alignment with the temperament of this forward-thinking filmmaker.
Excerpts from the interview
It is amazing that filmmakers like Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese and you continue to make films even after crossing 80. Would you say the creative impulse is as strong even now as it was 50 years ago when you made Ankur?
I am 89 years old now, and Clint Eastwood is 93. The fact that Clint Eastwood continues to make films at his age inspires me too. The creative urge is still strong within me. I’m a filmmaker and I am still driven by the desire to make films. And that is why I still make cinema. I haven’t been well over the last few years … it comes with old age (said dryly). I have to undergo dialysis almost every second day. But, despite all that, I can’t retire.

Zubeidaa |

Your latest film Mujib: The Making Of A Nation has just been released. What gripped you about the subject?
He is the man who paved the way for the creation of Bangladesh. I found his story intriguing and I think it made for interesting cinema.
Ankur Ankur |

What challenges did you face while making the film, especially bilingual?
Every film I have made has presented its own set of challenges. This film was made in Bengali but the Bengali spoken in the eastern parts is different from the language spoken in West Bengal. In fact, within Bangladesh itself, the Bangla in Dhaka is different from the dialect in Chittagong. Thanks to the literature I had read and the music I have heard,  I was aware of the culture this side of the border, but I had to familiarise myself with the milieu of the east for the film.
You have made several biographies earlier like Bhumika, Sardar Begum, Zubeidaa and films on Gandhi, Bose and now Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. As a filmmaker, is it possible to be objective about your subject?
I make these films because I admire these people, but as a filmmaker I have to be objective. However, one’s objectivity is limited by one’s perception of these people. Every filmmaker has his own viewpoint, his perception. They are fascinating characters… How you present them cinematically depends on your sensibility and sensitivity.
It is now 50 years since you made your first feature film Ankur (1973). Has it been a satisfying journey creatively?
No and yes. Every person strives for perfection but that is not always possible so one has to keep striving, and find satisfaction in the creative process. I have enjoyed experimenting with varied themes … from serious films to Mandi which was a comedy on the subject of prostitution.
MujubMujub |

You have made 24 feature films in these five decades, what are your three best films?
That is not possible for me because when I look back I notice flaws in my films. It’s also a matter of opinion. Many people, including me, would say that Pather Panchali is Satyajit Ray’s best film but he himself thought that Charulata was his most refined work.
You followed Ankur with critical triumphs like Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika and Junoon. This string of 1970s films can be credited with starting the art film movement in Hindi cinema. Your thoughts.
I have been a part of the art film movement but there were so many other directors who were making these kinds of films — Ritwik Ghatak, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, M S Sathyu, Govind Nihalani and others.
You have been a part of Indian cinema for 50 years, would you say it has changed for the better?
Technologically, the equipment available nowadays for lighting, editing and shooting is tremendous and they are able to shoot much faster. In comparison, the techniques we had were very primitive. Thematically too, cinema is bound to change because it have to keep up with the times. You don’t have to give the audience what they what, you have to create something new that they did not know they wanted.

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Clint Eastwood

10 forgotten Clint Eastwood films that few remember

To speak of Clint Eastwood is to allude to one of the most important actors and directors in Hollywood who, incidentally, took time to be mayor of the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
With more than 70 credits in his career, just as an actor, we tend to be clear about which Clint Eastwood masterpieces to evoke when we talk about his career.
Movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, No forgiveness, Dirty Harry o Million Dollar Baby They are essential stops in his filmography, not to mention legendary ones like The iron sergeant o Gran Torino.
But today, in HobbyCine de Hobby Consolas, we will talk about 10 Clint Eastwood films that are usually forgotten by a large part of the public.
On the tightrope
On the Tightrope (1984)

Let’s start with one of the best eighties thrillers that Clint Eastwood starred in in the eighties: On the tightrope.
He actor Californian has starred in many thrillers throughout his career and, for some reason, this film with psychological overtones is not usually one of the first to come to fans’ minds.
Eastwood plays Wes Block, a New Orleans detective investigating a serial rapist and killer wreaking havoc on the city.
Soon, he discovers that he and the murderer have several sinister points in common, bringing to the surface fears that he thought buried forever.
The blacklist
The Blacklist (1988)
In 1988, Clint Eastwood played for the last time Harry Callahanthe always controversial Dirty Harry, in The blacklist.
For some, the weakest of the saga, for others, as good as the first. Be that as it may, the movie directed by Buddy Van Horn It is not the first that comes to mind when talking about the most scoundrel police officer that the actor has ever starred in.
Of course, some of us still look askance at remote-controlled cars when we see them on the street, lest it be…
A haul of $500,000
A $500,000 Loot (1974)
Eastwood’s career also took its time in heist films and buddy movies, and one of his seventies films was A haul of $500,000.
The movie of Michael Cimino paired Clint Eastwood with Jeff Bridges to plan and carry out a robbery of the supposedly impregnable Bank of Montana.
“Lightning”‘s (Eastwood) former partners form an uneasy alliance with them that could be more problematic than beneficial.
A $500,000 Loot is a great film that, despite all the technological advances, has aged quite well, being released in 1974.
The seducer
The Seducer (1971)
We cannot forget the heartthrob Clint Eastwood: to think that the actor only plays tough guys who would crack you like a nut for looking at them wrong would be unfair.
The seducer It takes us to the American Civil War, where the actor plays a northern soldier wounded in combat who is rescued by a young woman from a girls’ school.
After taking him to school, when the soldier recovers, he becomes a conqueror who drives everyone crazy, and by crazy we mean that the school becomes the headquarters of Celos International.
Alcatraz escape
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood have collaborated on numerous occasions throughout their respective careers. In 1979, director and actor signed Alcatraz escape.
See if we tend to forget this film, consolega, that even a certain editor of this website – yours truly – forgot about it when writing a news story about The Rock and stating that Sean Connery He was the first to escape from prison.
The best prison series: Vis a vis, Wentworth, Prison Break...
Clint Eastwood plays a tremendously insightful and intelligent inmate who has had enough of the prison system after several successful escapes.
In the end they intern him in the maximum security prison of Alcatraz, in San Francisco Bay, daring him to escape from where no one has managed to escape. A challenge that he gladly accepted.
Two mules and a woman
Two Mules and a Woman (1970)
In fact, Don Siegel was also in the director’s chair of Two mules and a womanone of Clint Eastwood’s westerns that we most often overlook.
Nor is it a bad film if there is a logical reason for it to be an unnoticed Western, but other films by the actor, such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Legend of the Nameless City, Death Had a Price or A Fistful of Dollarsthey tend to overshadow it.
License to kill
License to Kill (1975)
In addition to sharing a title with one of the James Bond films, although the 007 film came almost three decades later, License to kill was one of Clint Eastwood’s first films as an actor and director.
Released in 1975, this thriller uses the trope of the protagonist who reaches a dark past that he thought he had left behind.
Eastwood plays a former hitman who worked for an international organization.
Although he is retired, he is blackmailed and ordered to kill one of the three people trying to summit the Eiger in the Swiss Alps.
A perfect world
A Perfect World (1993)
A perfect world is a film that had the bad luck to see the light of day a year after Unforgiven and, in many ways, is overshadowed even by In the line of firealso released in 1993.
This road movie with a sixties setting puts Clint Eastwood in the shoes of a Texas ranger in charge of hunting down fugitives who have kidnapped a child during their escape.
suicide route
Suicide Route (1977)
Among Clint Eastwood’s police thrillers in the seventies, we also find the frequently forgotten Suicide Route.
The actor plays an alcoholic police officer who has the mission of escorting a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix, although the obstacles they will encounter to prevent the witness from giving a statement will be constant.
Space Cowboys
Space Cowboys (2000)
More than forgotten, Space Cowboys It is usually vilified without much reason, since it is a very entertaining product without being, by any means, the best thing that Clint Eastwood has done.
The actor and director surrounds himself with some of the biggest names in Hollywood who have been sporting gray hair for decades for one last rodeo, yes, in orbit.
When a Russian satellite leaves its orbit, the creator of its systems is tasked with repairing it, but he will only go into orbit in the company of the companions he was able to fly with in the past.
None of the Clint Eastwood films that we have mentioned today are bad, far from it, but they are works that tend to be buried in that ocean of masterpieces that the actor and director has left behind throughout his many decades in the industry.

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