Pacino: An Actor's Vision

Pacino: An Actor's Vision
Actors will treasure this box, while Pacino fans will be rewarded for their curiosity. An Actor’s Vision gathers three plays that Pacino has adapted from stage to screen. Chinese Coffee sees Pacino and Jerry Orbach play two artistes struggling in Manhattan during the yuppie ’80s. Pacino’s Jerry Levine is the more talented of the two and whose new novel both steals from and threatens his relationship with buddy Jake. The static staging exposes the theatrical origins of Ira Lewis’s play but the dialogue is funny and the performances are razor-sharp. The same can’t be said for The Local Stigmatic, where Pacino’s dreadful cockney accent sinks the film from the get-go. It’s almost unwatchable. The most satisfying disc here is Looking For Richard, which is more of a documentary on, rather than film adaptation of, Richard III. Pacino and his Hollywood cast (Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Vanessa Redgrave) examine what Shakespeare means to modern American audiences by asking, even challenging, people on the street. Elsewhere, the camera eavesdrops on rehearsals, as Pacino’s thespians interpret this tragedy about political power and betrayal. The film avoids treating the Bard like high art and succeeds by discussing Shakespeare’s play in everyday terms. Pacino offers commentary on Coffee and Richard; his thoughts are more anecdotal than analytical. They deal more with the source plays (and characterisation) than the choices he made as a film director but deepen the viewer’s understanding nonetheless. Going further, Pacino introduces and wraps up each film with footage gleaned from a conversation filmed at the Actors Studio where he cut his teeth. A bonus disc, Babbleonia, captures a full hour of a fascinating, though rambling, conversation where Pacino reminisces about his stage career and compares stage to film acting. Thought and care have been invested in this box. For once we see Al Pacino the artist and not the Hollywood superstar. (Fox)