It’s the entire Hollywood legend that died with him. Peter Bogdanovich – 82 years old, died Thursday, January 6 in Los Angeles – perhaps on a larger scale than his work, which embodied in the eyes of filmmakers a vivid memory of cinema, at the same time as a vital love for this medium.
Born on July 30, 1939 in Kingston, New York, to an Orthodox Serbian father and Austrian Jewish mother, he began his career as a critic and programmer, then moved on to directing after being pushed by the new wave. Three successes in a row take him to the top. last session (1971), a depressingly illusory portrait of a small Texas town in 1951, through the stormy friendship of two young men they will soon leave. The film exposes Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd and immediately places itself under the mark of loss and nostalgia for classic American cinema. Shall we pack our bags, Doctor? (1972), try to revive comedy spiral (“Crazy Comedy”) which combines Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand as a crouched couple. Dad’s beard (1973), a tentative road movie that links O’Neill once again in the role of Sourdough with a reluctantly captured young girl (his daughter, Tatum O’Neill).
The rest will be more difficult. Both professional and personal, although not excluded from quality, like this amazing jack (1979), A Strange Drift in which Cassavite actor Ben Gazzara plays expatriate Mac in Singapore to wrest his freedom. And everyone was laughing (1982), a detective comedy, crystallizing a kind of fat. One of the actresses in the film, Dorothy Stratten, a fellow playwright who fell madly in love with whom he had dreamed of Pygmalion, was killed by her husband during liberation. Subsequently, the devastated Bogdanovich decided to distribute the film on his own, having bought the rights to Fox, and was destroyed in the process. A few years later, he sued Universal for inappropriate cuts to his film. mask (1985), a strange and magical act, with Cher as a mother whose teenage son suffers from a deformity that makes him look like a lion.
Burnt out in Hollywood, Bogdanovich in a sense joins what he hasn’t ceased to be, without question: a character out of phase, a vivid anachronism. A novice in the era of New Hollywood, who revolutionized American cinema both politically and structurally, he is the author of a work that can be described as a neoclassical and does not dream of turning the tables. He walks with his eyes turned toward a past in cinema, the inevitable loss that he suffers painfully, in appreciation of the art of his great masters.
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