Colin Gardner
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Bertolt Brecht and Galileo (1974)
in Joseph Losey
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There is a large chronological gap between Joseph Losey's first American staging of Galileo in 1947 and the release of his filmed version in 1974, reflecting almost thirty years of frustration on Losey's part, in terms of both finding financial backing for the picture and obtaining English-language rights from Bertolt Brecht's widow. In the 1974 film, people are in no doubt that beneath the dialectical surface of ethical and political responsibility lies the immanence of nuclear destruction itself. Losey equates this 'road to perdition' with both time and space, expressed through sound and depth of field. The tolling church bell, a favourite Losey device for expressing the immanence of ineffable time, runs throughout Galileo as a leitmotif signalling the crystalline nature of the scientist's twin multiplicities. Losey produces a less ambiguous effect from his use of depth of field.

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