Melissa George

Melissa talks European Cinema with the Telegraph

I love European cinema because of its silences. Often you have an entire scene where it’s just a close-up on a face with no dialogue and the beauty of that scene is in its silence.

There are a lot fewer sharp cuts than in American cinema and European films aren’t edited purely to get the story moving along. European cinema feels more relaxed, it makes you listen and observe life. The films allow audiences to witness moments they might usually skip over.

As an actress, it’s also a more pleasurable experience when you’re working on a shot that’s being filmed in full, rather than having to do short takes.

Often in French movies they show a classically beautiful woman in a situation where she doesn’t belong. In Belle de Jour [1967] the director [Luis Bu'uel] pushed the boundaries of immorality by making it look beautiful. Catherine Deneuve is an example of the all time classically beautiful French actress and in Belle de Jour her character chooses to become a prostitute. It seems almost a normal thing to do because she looks so perfect.

I draw on a lot of Spanish and Italian cinema in my work. I’m very influenced by Fellini films and I marvel at the freedom in the way he portrayed his actresses.

With European films it’s not the editing that gets the performance. The actors have to sustain the entire movie with their characterisation. Right now I’m obsessed with the Spanish film Sex and Luc’a [2001] and I know Julian Schnabel is American but I also love his film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which is French. The way everything was shot through the man’s eyelashes as if we were seeing it from his own eyes is something I’ll never forget.

In European cinema it’s all about the wide, anamorphic lens which represents how life actually is. There’s never a crane shot which zooms in just for the sake of it. European cinema is more realistic. It’s as if the films are shot as life evolves.

Source: The Telegraph