As we wrap up my look at Brian DePalma’s career with Redacted on Friday, I’m looking ahead to the director I will spotlight beginning in August. Below are the four choices. Vote by leaving a comment below.
John Cassavetes – To many he was the father of modern American independent cinema, filming on New York Streets without permits, making films that would never receive major accolades, but would inspire filmmakers for decades to come. His wife, Gena Rowland starred in many of his pictures, and his children have all gone into the film industry. While he is most famous for his role as Guy in Roman Polanksi’s Rosemary’s Baby, Cassavettes is also one of the most independent voices film has ever seen.
Films I Have Seen: Faces.
Sam Fuller – He didn’t give a damn if they liked his work or not, he made films the way he wanted them. Fuller was a newspaper writer and crime novelist who joined up with the Army when World War II broke out and saw action in both the European and African theaters. It was during the liberation of a concentration camp that he made his first cinematic work, footage that was included in a documentary. Fuller focused on gritty crime drama and war films, but didn’t present pretty pictures of anything. Studios hated his work, and it was with the shelving of his controversial film White Dog, which tackled issues of racism, that he left America never to make another film here again.
Films I Have Seen: Pick Up on South Street
Derek Jarman – Jarman was a filmmaker that optimized the British punk movement. He made films that took cultural tradition (The Queen, Shakespeare) and turned them on their heads. Jarman was diagnosed with AIDs in 1986 and died in 1994. Despite his illness he continued making films till the ending, becoming more meditative and thoughtful in his latter work.
Films I Have Seen: None
Werner Herzog – Herzog is nuts. This is something I have learned through reading about and seeing only a few of his films. Herzog likes to play with the viewer, fooling us and confusing us. He is obsessive, meaning his films are tightly crafted. His battles with frequent acting collaborator and peer in insanity Klaus Kinski are the stories of movie legend. And he’s still making films.
Films I Have Seen: Strosek, Nosferatu, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Grizzly Man