The Importance Of Posture And Gesture For The Performer In Relation To Greta Garbo From Camille

2598 words - 10 pages

The Importance of Posture and Gesture for the Performer in Relation to Greta Garbo From Camille

Camille, created in 1936, is universally acknowledged as one of the
most romantically atmospheric productions of al time.

The film begins with the scene being set as we are shown “the gay
half-world of Paris, the gentlemen of the day met the girls of the
moment at certain theatres, balls and gambling clubs, where the code
was discretion - - but the game was romance. This is the story of one
of those pretty creatures who lived on the quicksand’s of popularity -
- Marguerite Gautier, who brightened her wit with champagne - and
sometimes her eyes with tears.”

“Camille” tells the story of a beautiful but fatefully ill French
courtesan named Marguerite Gautier and her love affair with the
handsome young Armand Duval in 1840's Paris.

Greta Garbo gives a compelling performance of a courtesan, ensnared
within a materialistic world in which contentment and love seem out of
her grasp. Ironically, when she falls in love and begins to build a
new life, we discover that it is as tragically delicate as the flowers
that resemble her so perfectly. We observe an irony in the way that
she is dependant on the favours of rich admirers to maintain her
expensive lavish lifestyle, she can have everything, but love becomes
the only luxury that she cannot afford. She can barely afford these
luxuries “…but I want them”.

As the first scene begins, we are presented with a horse drawn
carriage that stops before a Parisian flower shop. The proprietress of
the establishment hurriedly gathers a beautiful bouquet of camellias
and presents them to the outstretched hand of the woman inside the
carriage. She is hidden from us, protected by the frame of the
carriage in which she sits, maybe symbolic of the world that she
belongs to, protecting and concealing her from a reality that she
would whither in without the nourishments of the lifestyle that she
has grown so accustomed to.

The first moment that the hand is seen, a mysterious and elegant
ambience is evoked. We see the hand and ask who is this woman, who
does the outstretched hand belong too? It is ironic that throughout
the film, we rarely truly see the true character of Marguerite
Gautier, the airs and graces that she so readily portrays are almost a
mask for her in situations where she cannot show weakness but play a
continuous game.

Marguerite Gautier is then revealed to us. She is presented within the
carriage, a small space, almost a frame. She nestles her face in the
flowers with fluid head movements, embracing with a comfort the
beautiful flowers that have just been presented to her, we observe the
posture of our actress upon this acceptance. When speaking to her
subject, she does not create or maintain an eye contact, rather looses

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