What It Means to Be an Intellectual Film Actor?

In august of 2010 philosophical cinema lost two film actors who made a creative investment into aesthetics of intellectual film acting.

Bruno Cremer as the Examplary Father Figure In a Democratic Family

Bruno Cremer In "The Book of Mary"

Beside his popular success in numerous movies Bruno Cremer acted in a short film directed by Anne Marie Mieville “The Book of Mary” (combined with Godard’s “Hail Mary” – 1985). It is his work in that short film what makes us remember (and pay tribute to) him today.

In Mieville’s film the archetypal psychology of religious intuition is siphoned through everyday rituals of European democratic post-modernity. The task of Bruno Cremer was to impersonate not more-not less the God-Father according to French society of early 80s with its liberal sensibility and prosperous life style. Cremer as Mary’s father had to be (and be perceived and trusted by the viewers as) the top representative of traditional masculine authority and at the same time to be able to sublimate this authority into a modality of rationality: a model of democratic authority, somebody who doesn’t need to rely on fear to keep the world going.

In other words, Cremer played a Democratic God, a god with democratic style of ruling the universe – a combination that didn’t exist before Mieville’s film and the talent of Bruno Cremer. He played the god-gentleman, a god whose power doesn’t need to be used, god who feels his limitations and accepts them, and for whom it is challenging and interesting to win the world, not to subdue it. In Mieville and Cremer’s interpretation god feels a positive humility vis-à-vis the human child – his daughter Mary, and he became an extraordinary pedagogue, but unfortunately inside the software which, according to Godard and Mieville, is wrong and outdated.

Bruno S. as kaspar Hauser

Bruno as a Courtyard Artist

Desperate Stroszek In US

Bruno S. was “discovered” by Werner Herzog and had major roles in his films “Every Man for Himself and God Against All (the Mystery of Kaspar Hauser)” – 1975, and “Stroszek” – 1976. He personified Herzog’s anthropological condense metaphor – human goodness trampled on and crumbled by rituals of everyday life.

In “Every Man for Himself” Bruno S. personified the human existential intelligence as such, thwarted and subdued by triviality of human collective mind and cowardly pettiness of the generic human heart. It is not easy to act exceptional quality like human intelligence (which doesn’t want to separate from living) which is in a state of retreating and illness. It is like a flawed diamond or a corrupted gold. Bruno S. acted the very “imbecility“ of human existential intelligence, which still is justifiably incompatible with the conventional retardation of a typical way of life.

In “Stroszek” Bruno S. (under Herzog’s style of “spur”-inspired directing) developed his screen personality by elaborating the narcissistically infantile features of the human existential intelligence (appeared because of the person’s happy awareness of having an intellectual gift and becoming enamored by it). By refusing to adapt to the soulless sur-survival of mechanical calculations in US, his hero, a German emigrant, is unable, in spite of his intelligence, to find the third way – a way out between the standard anti-existential survivalism and intellectual and existential collapse. His talent has an immanent arrogance that becomes the reason for his fatal despair. Bruno S. as Stroszek is simultaneously our ideal and an exclamatory warning, a role model and a monster, admirable and frightening.