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John Malkovich received a world cinema contribution award

Festivals 2011-06-24

‘Being John Malkovich’ – what does it mean? Who knows. Anyhow the actor himself affirms that in the noted Spike Jonze’s picture, where his head was being turned into a virtual portal, he just played an odd role of the character with such a name, no way related to him.

Malkovich played over 70 various parts in cinema, including the noblest Athos in The Man in the Iron Mask, but gained great recognition after vicious Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, and for the psychotic political assassin from In the Line of Fire he was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe. It might be said that his range stretches between judicial Dr. Jekyll and ominous Mr. Hyde from thriller Mary Reilly, but Malkovich confesses: "I'm drawn to a character with a lack of humanity. People give reasons for being cruel or sadistic but I think it is just a lack of humanity and concern for others. I think I'm good at them because I don't like them”. Paradoxically enough - audiences are attracted to those roles played by Malkovich which he deeply hates. Maybe this makes him agree to participate in the projects where he can parody his dramatic type.
The actor indulges portraying a burlesque of those villains and rogues which made him public’s favourite, with special delight picturing his character’s abasement.

As Malkovich recalls, his first teacher in acting taught, that the worst sin was to be boring. With this lesson in mind he daringly takes up inconceivable tasks always presenting something an audience won't have seen. Nowadays public at large not only in Italy, Germany, Australia or Austria, but also in St. Petersburg and Moscow came to know his operatic talent as he toured with the opera The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer. His performance of Jack Unterweger, who strangled 11 women, arose a controversial reception; some spectators reproached him of glorifying the monster. But this impression is deceitful: charming as usual in this part, Malkovich just shows that moral monsters often have human face and that the evil may appear very attractive. But his own sympathy wins another charming operatic personage – famous womanizer Casanova in The Giacomo Variations where he plays against Ingeborga Dapkunaite.

Nina Tsyrkun