The last four
16 November 2012
17 November 2012
An interesting article. Slate’s comparison of filmmakers is of course quite artificial, as it hangs onto Tarantino’s “last four” statement rather than his “retiring at 60” remark. Truffaut was only 47 when he made Love on the Run. So was Kubrick when he released Barry Lyndon. Orson Welles was just 43 when Touch of Evil came out. Surely there is a difference between a 40-something and an 80-something filmmaker.
Personally, I am quite drawn to films by older directors. It’s got something to do with the wisdom and bravery that seems to come with age. I don’t think that Kurosawa could have made Ran in the 1950s the way he made it in the 1980s. I have expressed my love before for Francis Ford Coppola’s latest works, flawed as they may be. Clint Eastwood’s films from, say, the past 15 years have all got something special to them as well. Woody Allen’s latest films may be a little hit or miss, but so I think were his earlier ones, and there are some real gems in his recent catalogue. And so on and so forth.
Not all older filmmakers grow up this way, of course. The now 75-year-old Ridley Scott is an example of someone who, as much as I love him, hasn’t really graduated into the “old and wise” phase. Yet. I’m sure there are others.
17 November 2012
I should have said btw, not to click on the first link of mine if you are at work (its Playboy Magazine!).
Vili – yes, I agree that Slate got a bit confused and lazy in its choice of directors, it doesn’t make sense to include films made when the director was relatively young (as with Ozu of course). One director they left out was John Huston, who worked well into his 80’s and when terminally ill. His last four films were Annie (horrible), Under the Volcano (I haven’t seen, but is quite well regarded I think), Prizzi’s Honour (a big hit), and The Dead (in my opinion, a masterpiece).
I don’t know much about his films, but I think Eric Rohmer carried on making great work into his 70’s and 80’s.
20 November 2012
Ugetsu: I should have said btw, not to click on the first link of mine if you are at work (its Playboy Magazine!).
But surely everyone reads Playboy for its articles! Why would a work place want to block that!
I haven’t seen Huston’s last films, except perhaps for The Dead, which I think my wife translated at some point, and which I may or may not have watched back then. Can’t remember. So, must watch again.
Despite you often mentioning the film here, I actually didn’t realise that it was by Huston! He’s one of those directors that I really like, but haven’t really properly investigated yet. At some point in the future I will need to spend a month immersed in his films. I actually just watched The Maltese Falcon the other day. Still brilliant.
Another filmmaker past 60 and still going very strong is Martin Scorsese. And while I haven’t really followed his career, Polanski’s The Ghost Writer was pretty good.
Apparently, Quentin Tarantino has said that he wants to retire early, as so many directors make bad films at the end of their lives.
Slate did a bit of an analysis, looking at the last four films by big name filmakers – it concludes that with Kurosawa (as with so many others), this isn’t really true.
Not sure what to say about this, except to note that most directors do seem to go a little awry in old age (very few of the directors seem to have made truly great films in old age), but they rarely lose real talent.