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Who’s your favorite Al Pacino? Is it the sensitive, reserved Pacino of The Godfather? The insistent, honorable Pacino of The Insider? The frantic, romantic Pacino of Dog Day Afternoon? The humanized, loyal-to-a-fault Pacino of The Irishman? All of the above? (Al of the above? — we’ll see ourselves out).
Whichever iteration of the actor you prefer, there’s just no denying it: no one does it like Pacino. The man is a singular talent, an actor who has, over the course of a 50-year film career, established and weaponized the intrinsic qualities of his onscreen presence to deliver some of the most iconic performances in cinema.
The video essay “Al Pacino: Underneath the Bravado” works through Pacino’s filmography, unpacking how the actor has made a career out of manifesting two apparently oppositional extremes: vulnerability and bravado. The video unspools a highlight reel of his work, from vulnerable young men to social outcasts, to experienced authorities, to swaggering braggadocios. As we move through Pacino’s performances, it’s clear that the actor’s two key warring sensibilities are, in fact, two sides of the same coin; bonded by the particularities of how Pacino approaches a character.
You can watch “Al Pacino: Underneath the Bravado” here:
Who made this?
This video essay comes courtesy of The Discarded Image, a video series created by Julian Palmer that deconstructs film. The series began with a deconstruction of how Steven Spielberg creates suspense with the beach scene in Jaws and has steadily grown from there. You can check out The Discarded Image’s video essays here.
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- It’s no secret we’re big fans of CinemaTyler, who’s a big fan of Dog Day Afternoon. Here’s what we can learn about filmmaking from Sidney Lumet’s masterpiece.
- A look into how Al Pacino portrays anger on the screen
- And, of course, Pacino’s most masterful performance: the Dunkaccino ad in Jack and Jill
- A 1973 interview with Pacino conducted by drama critic Elliot Norton about Pacino’s performance in Richard III
- And finally: a fantastically laid-back/chaotic GQ video of Pacino breaking down his roles in Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, and The Godfather