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The Earrings Of Madame De... (#110 of 1)

Blood Diamonds: The Earrings of Madame De…

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Blood Diamonds: <em>The Earrings of Madame De…</em>
Blood Diamonds: <em>The Earrings of Madame De…</em>

The Earrings of Madame de… (1953) is a beloved period costume drama, but in terms of visceral impact and camera movement, it’s an action flick. Director Max Ophüls translated emotions into not just dynamic motion but the tension between abruptly shifting speeds, rhythms and screen direction and a camera pushing to keep up. Many directors’ storytelling shows all the grace of a street brawl; this fight moves like capoeira. Ophuls’s camera never lurches or lapses in adjustment; it always rounds out its movements with momentous fluidity. In La Ronde (1950), the camera waltzed teasing circles around its succession of errant lovers. In Madame de... there’s a lot of whimsical waltzing, but the camera (generally on a dolly but sometimes riding a crane) dances in a dizzying range of styles.