That biased oscar montage is going to be packed like a marquee come next March. Arthur C. Clark, legendary Science fiction author and theorist, co-writer of Stanley Kubrick's version of his own work 2001: A Space Odyssey died on Tuesday. We have him to thank not only for 2001, but also Andrei Tarkovsky's filmic rebuttle Solaris. 2010 came more than ten years after and was a little more like Solaris than 2001. We also then have Arthur C. Clarke to thank for every pensive-dwindling body count in space film and serious take on space travel film that's come after it. Sunshine, Event Horizon, Alien, For All Mankind, Apollo 13, Star Wars; they all took something from 2001.
Anthony Minghella, director of many a flawed historical epic, died the same day. The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain and a few nothing movies in between were all his handy work. He took part in a project where many directors filmed versions of Samuel Becket's plays. I read one of Minghella's plays, Whale Music, about a group of lesbians who meet up for a weekend. They all have issues with romance and each other. It's not that it wasn't feasible, but it felt like he was trying for something that wasn't there. He had decent taste in music as evidenced by his soundtracks. Made a civil war film in which Jack White was the only American. His career was full of almosts and near-misses, but no one deserves to die at 54, of a brain hemmorhage no less.
I mentioned not long ago that the 1971 version of King Lear was one of my favorite Shakespeare adaptations. Well the title character was played by an incredible actor called Paul Scofield who died yesterday. Scofield hadn't made a film in almost ten years and just had his 86th birthday. He was a shakespearian actor, he was any kind of actor, he was a damn good actor. He played the ghost in Hamlet, Karenin in Anna Karenina, Thomas More in a Man For All Seasons and his theatre credits are too many to count. He was the voice of Akira Kurosawa in voice over for a documentary about the man. He was tall and broad shouldered and looked like what I pictured God to look like as a child of 6.
On Tuesday, 67 years ago, Virgiana Woolf killed herslef in Sussex, England. She inspired many actors to study her writings, become experts and partake in films of her writings. Kenneth Brannagh, Eileen Atkins, Rosemary Harris, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Redgrave, Natascha McElhone, even Michael Gough, and countless others have been moved to perform her words; perform words on a page never intended for such a thing. That is art; that transcends form and timee to inspire artists in all fields.
To Death man swiftly falls a prey, whither shall I turn?