Monday, March 24, 2008

The Talented Mr. Minghella

Show ran long on Saturday .... Blah blah blah. You know the drill. One of the things I really regretted losing was a chance to say goodbye to Anthony Minghella.

For those who don't know, Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain and others died last Tuesday, March 18, at the frighteningly young age of 54. He reportedly died due to complications from a surgery for tonsil cancer.

Just one more reminder of how important good tonsil health is.

Minghella's cinematic vision was distinctive; lush and layered and meticulously detailed, his films bear the stamp of a true craftsman. When I listed worthwhile DVD commentaries for a blog entry some time back, I cited his assessment of his Best Picture Oscar Winner The English Patient, as "a film school course for $12.99." And so it is. He tells you the hows and whys of the ways scenes are acted, shot and cut together in a way I suspect most directors would prefer to keep to themselves, possibly because they think it's too "Inside Baseball" for the average viewer, possibly because they don't want to reveal their magician's tricks.

This past year, Minghella did not have a film out that he directed, but his presence was still felt in some of 2007's best: he made a cameo appearance as an interviewer at the end of Joe Wright's Atonement and was one of the producers of Michael Clayton.

And just now, debuting in the UK on BBC1 and soon to come to America and HBO is "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," a mini-series about the first female-headed detective agency in Botswana, starring Jill Scott and Dreamgirl Anika Noni Rose. Minghella co-wrote, directed and produced the series.

With several other writing, producing and directing credits listed as "in production" on the imdb, Minghella's creativity will continue to be felt. And with several modern classics to his name, he has carved out a place in movie history.

Anthony Minghella -- 1954-2008.

No comments:

John and Dave talks Oscar nomination predictions