The transgressive art of William Friedkin

Bad behaviour is attributed the Devil in William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin’s death in August prompted a look back at his most significant work from the ’70s and ’80s, a run of movies which were controversial and only intermittently commercially successful. At his best, Friedkin’s cool, detached approach to dangerous subjects resulted in powerful movies which influenced the direction of popular genres and his work from that period remains challenging today.

Farewell to a good friend: Dave Barber

Dave at the 2004 opening of my friend Gord Wilding's show at Artspace

Long-time friend Dave Barber, programmer of the Cinematheque and heart and soul of the Winnipeg Film Group died on Monday July 26 after six hard weeks in hospital, leaving behind a local and national film community which owed him an enormous debt for his unceasing work to get Canadian independent cinema seen by audiences across the country. For those close to him, the loss is more personal and painful; Dave’s decency and humour affected us all deeply and its absence now leaves a painful hole which will be impossible to fill.

John Saxon 1936-2020

John Saxon as martial arts expert Roper in Robert Clouse's Enter the Dragon (1973)

Actor John Saxon died last week. With almost two-hundred roles over six decades, he was a distinctive presence on screen though never a star. In the 1970s and “80s, he worked regularly in Italian genre movies, doing much of the work that his fans most appreciated.

Agnès Varda 1928-2019

Agnès Varda in Faces Places (2017)

Agnès Varda, whose remarkable career spanned from 1955’s La Pointe Courte to the recently released Varda by Agnès (2019), has died at the age of 90. In six-and-a-half decades, she created a body of work rooted in a fascination with human beings and the social forces which shape them, in features and documentaries full of acute insights and humour.

Blasts from the past

Year End 2015

Recent disks from England, part one

Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995): Criterion Blu-ray review

Recent viewing, part 3