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.
One of the great post-New Wave French directors recently died. Bertrand Tavernier, versatile in the subjects he tackled and deeply humanist in attitude, was 79.
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, 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.
The older I get, the more often I hear of the death of people who have touched my life in some way. This summer seems to have been worse than most.
George A. Romero, who died on July 16, a master of the horror film, was influential far beyond the movies, having originated the now-ubiquitous zombies of pop culture in his best known films, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.
Some brief comments on several recent movie-related deaths, plus random observations about an eclectic group of recently watched Blu-rays in various different genres.
Artsploitation Films has released George Moises’s Counter Clockwise (2016), a new low-budget addition to the time travel paradox sub-genre; and several notable cinema personalities have recently departed.
The French comic filmmaker Pierre Etaix, whose work spanned the decade of the ’60s only to vanish for 40 years before being rediscovered and restored in 2010, has died at the age of 87.
Dan Ireland, director of The Whole Wide World (1996), died on April 14, aged 57.