A new documentary about Charlie Chaplin paints a “rounder portrait” of the “complicated” life of the silent film star – including the irritated relationship with his teenage wives.
Having gained access to unseen archival material from Chaplin’s mansion, directors Peter Middleton and James Spini are trying to identify the man behind the toothbrush mustache in “The Real Charlie Chaplin.”
“We were shocked when we started making the film,” Middleton told Sky News. “So many people have this image of the Little Wanderer, the man with the mustache, the cane and the bowler hat, and it’s actually kind of leveling our understanding of him.
“He was an extraordinary, complex character and had an extraordinary canvas of life. So our intention was to try to clarify this and try to present a more rounded portrait of the man.
Raising Chaplin to an incomparable level of fame in the early 1900s is the ultimate story of the rags to riches, his childhood spent in and out of a Victorian workshop in Lambeth, south London, from the age of four after his father left their family. and his mother was placed in a shelter.
After moving to America, his on-screen popularity in silent films was such that he would eventually reach 300 million film audiences.
As Spini explains: “Because the films were silent, they could travel around the world and people of all backgrounds could enjoy his films, so he achieved a kind of fame that was not possible before he appeared on screen. “
Chaplin is perhaps the world’s first celebrity. But while his influence on popular culture is unquestionable when it comes to his personal life, there is an argument that by today’s standards he will not really be seen or heard.
The documentary touches on how three of Chaplin’s four wives were teenagers. Lita Gray was 12 when she worked with him, and they later secretly married in Mexico. He was in his 30s and she was 16 and pregnant – in California he could be charged with legal rape.
After they divorced, she was reprimanded by the press for saying in interviews that her husband would explode in rage during their marriage and that he was annoying her room, pulled a gun on her and tried to pressure her to have an abortion. in the back street.
“I think there’s an expectation for today’s audience that at least is addressed, and we’ve tried very hard to find people who can talk to that time,” Middleton said.
“It was important for us to be able to find those voices that have been ignored or not heard properly over the years.
Post #MeToo, whether you can separate art from the artist is a very topical conversation. Sam Holdsworth, director of the Clowns Without Borders charity, said it was important to talk openly about these things.
“[If we look at] by canceling Charlie Chaplin, we are canceling the stories of these women, and that is just as problematic. In fact, what the journey brings are those women’s stories that still happen today, again and again, in the light. I think that’s what’s important, and this is the journey that needs to happen now. “
In silent cinema, language was not an obstacle to making Chaplin’s appeal universal. But as the debate over how we value historical figures intensifies, really understanding his legacy is now far from black and white.
The real Charlie Chaplin is already in theaters
Charlie Chaplin’s Art and the “Complex” Relationships with Teenage Wives Explored in a New Documentary | Ents and art news
Source link Charlie Chaplin’s Art and the “Complex” Relationships with Teenage Wives Explored in a New Documentary | Ents and art news