Alan Parker

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Date and place of birth: 1944, London, UK

Living place: London, UK

Theme: film

ECC Participation: Honorary Committee

Alan Parker is a Golden Palm winner and two-time Oscar nominee, and is considered to be among the one hundred most influential people in film. He says he doesn’t understand why a director would make twenty versions of the same movie throughout their career. Parker juggles genres and explores a variety of topics. He has made movies with elements of such styles as crime film, comedy, music film, and animation.

His best known films include the debut Bugsy Malone (1975), a comedy depicting the exploits of gangsters in the Prohibition era; Midnight Express (1978), based on a true story; the musical film Fame (1980); the noir-inspired thriller Harry Angel (1987); and the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita (1996), featuring Madonna and Antonio Banderas. He also directed the 1984 film Birdy, based on the novel by William Wharton, as well as the classic music film Pink Floyd The Wall, an animated picture that explores themes found in the famous Pink Floyd album The Wall.

“I change with every film I make. I start work as one person and I finish as another.”

Parker dug up court files from the 1960s American South to create the poignant Mississippi Burning (1988). He presented the social problems of contemporary Ireland, with a humorous twist, in the 1991 film The Commitments, the movie that gave us the famous adage “The Irish are the Blacks of Europe.” The Road to Wellville(1993), featuring Anthony Hopkins in a rare comedy appearance, takes jabs at the early days of the health and fitness trend.

Whether he’s shooting a box-office hit or a social drama, Parker always pays great attention to the aesthetics of his productions. His films often feature the work of cinematographer Michael Seresin. Parker and Seresin appeared at the 2007 Camerimage Festival, where they were awarded two Golden Frogs for Best Director-Cinematographer Duo. Parker also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Unique Visual Sensitivity at the 2008 edition of the festival. He is known for his merciless attitude towards critics, and has even directed a documentary film devoted to them. Parker has chaired the British Film Council and is a respected authority in British cinema. He was knighted for his achievements in 2001.

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TAGS: film, UK