Bill Murray, American cinema as we like it

His name is Steve Zissou, obeys his melancholy moods and wears a grotesque red cap that gives him false airs of Droopy disguised as Santa Claus … Embarked on an unlikely adventure with a few acolytes (including his alleged son and his ex-girlfriend), Steve Zissou goes in search of an enigmatic “jaguar shark” suspected of having killed his best friend on the high seas during the filming of a documentary.

With Wes Anderson, the unclassifiable American filmmaker, delirious fantasy and unpredictable poetry are (almost) always present. In Aquatic life, a film released on screens in 2005 and broadcast this Wednesday on Art, the filmmaker of The Tenenbaum family and The Grand Budapest Hotel is unleashed by staging the maritime peregrinations of the so-called Steve Zissou, a kind of comical double of Commander Cousteau. In the skin of the latter, an actor who plebiscite singular scores: Bill Murray. The actor, who celebrated his 70th birthday last year, is a loyal American filmmaker who, far from Hollywood, prefers to take side roads rather than walk the highways where formatting imposes its sad laws. Topping the list: Sofia Coppola and Jim Jarmusch, who have given her memorable roles, including in Lost in Translation for the first and Broken Flowers for the second.

An atypical pedigree

Sworn enemy of the promo and at all to the ego, Bill Murray could have been content to think only of his bank account by turning in blockbusters as he did in his beginnings, in the first place in the triumphal Ghostbusters Ivan Reitman in 1984. It is bad to know the iconoclastic actor, specialized in the roles “deadpan”, and who has always observed with an amused distance the pretenses and the ridiculous “star system” .

Decked out with a reputation as a bad interviewee, Bill Murray, for those who were lucky enough to meet him on a good day, is on the contrary a model of courtesy, wit and humor. We remember interviewing the actor in 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival, the year he had filmed Aquatic life and of Broken Flowers. He was inevitably asked a few questions about his legendary media discretion. Surprised, the man, the smirk, was prolix. “You have no idea how many people harass you and want to ask you something all the time he said. I’m just trying to protect myself and my loved ones from all this unnecessary fuss. Look in Cannes, these people who scream and are ready to scramble just to approach you… I have never had a press officer and I am doing very well. I am not selling me, it is my films. My life, it only concerns me. “

Sell ​​movies and what movies! Not content with having toured with Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch or Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray can also be proud (among others) to have collaborated with Tim Burton (Ed Wood), Harold Ramis (the cult One endless day) or George Clooney (Monuments Men). Either the fine flower of “independent American cinema”, a concept that the actor considers with relative enthusiasm.

“These filmmakers did not call themselves ‘independent’ he explains. They just deserve to be qualified that way because they are talented. Their requirement and their integrity means that they can only work in this way: by preserving at all costs their desire to shoot as they wish. For actors who, like me, have worked a lot in the big studios, the difference is huge. I know what it means to be up against people who are not from the movies, but from television, business or public relations. Let’s say that’s another way of looking at the job… ”

Buster Keaton, that hero

Bill Murray, him, always envisaged his job with a frenzied contempt for the academisms and the outbidings “people”. Last October, he once again burst the screen in the On the Rocks, of his accomplice Sofia Coppola, where he played an old seductive father who helped his daughter to spy on her allegedly fickle husband. A delirious score where, as so often, he excelled in the triple register of incorrectness, absurd humor and laconism. A predilection that refers to Murray’s never-denied love for silent cinema and its big names.

“I lived in Paris at a time in my life he remembers. At that time, I used to frequent the Cinémathèque. I gorged myself on silent films, it was a real education, like a return to origins. The first silent film I saw during my stay in Paris was The happy valley novel a DW Griffith film shot in 1919. A film whose copy had been missing for 60 years. No voice, no music: just Cyrillic subtitles. I will always remember the silence reigning in the room, this emotion born from the sole force of the story, the characters and their looks. The ideal, for me, is always to do without words. In this regard, Buster Keaton, in my opinion, was the most inventive actor and filmmaker of his generation. It’s so much stronger when the emotion passes through suggestion than through explanation, through gestures and looks than through language. “

Bill Murray or the art of saying a lot without ever overdoing chatter. Delicious confirmation tonight by (re) discovering Aquatic life sure Art.

Aquatic life by Wes Anderson, with Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe… Broadcast on Art January 20 at 8:55 p.m.

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