Alan Parker


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6.8 Bugsy Malone (1976)
7.0 Midnight Express (1978)
6.8 Fame (1980)
6.5 The Wall (1982)
6.5 Shoot the Moon (1982)
7.2 Birdy (1984)
7.1 Angel Heart (1987)
7.0 Mississippi Burning (1988)
5.0 Come See the Paradise (1990)
6.5 The Commitments (1991)
6.0 The Road to Wellville (1994)
7.0 The Life of David Gale (2003)
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Alan Parker (Britain, 1944) esordisce con Bugsy Malone (1976), una parodia musicale dei gangster degli anni 20 condotta da un gruppo di ragazzini che si travestono e rievocano le gesta dei nomi leggendari del crimine.

Midnight Express (1978) appartiene al filone carcerario, racconta a tinte iperrealiste, quasi espressioniste, la persecuzione cui è soggetto uno spacciatore di droga da parte dei suoi secondini, con sconfinamenti nei romanzi di Sade e nel Grand-guignol, finchè riesce a evadere.

Altra violazione del genere è il musical Fame (1980), ambientato nel mondo dello spettacolo, che separa nettamente arte e vita (contrariamente ai classici di Minnelli, Donen, etc. ), monta in stile casual i numeri musicali, segue con taglio documentaristico le vicende degli sdolcinati aspiranti attori. Fonde Hair (l'off musical) e Chorus line (il musical di Broadway dell'ultima generazione) ma l'ambientazione è tumultuosa, in una scuola d'arte popolare di N.Y. dove studiano giovani tanto diversi quanto ambiziosi, una folla di personaggi in cerca d'autore. Prima le audizioni per l'ammissione all'accademia (tante storie raccontate in scene-miniatura: la cantante vergine succube della madre, il ballerino teppista negro venuto per aiutare un'amica, il politastierista elettronico figlio di un tassista), l'inizio delle lezioni con la festa scatenata, le esercitazioni nella confusione più assoluta, il ballo per strada in mezzo al traffico, i flirt fra studenti di diversa estrazione. Poco a poco la folla si dirada, e i drammi personali vengono a galla, dolorosi e profondi. Pian piano la mapl?? esce dall'accademia e si immerge nei loro habitat sociali. Il ritmo si distende, la tragedia si approfondisce (il portoricano che fa il comico, l'omosessuale).

The family drama Shoot the Moon (1982), musical, è una classica citazione di cliché melodrammatici sulla crisi della coppia: lui lascia lei, ma poi si infuria quando si mette con un altro, i due rivali si accapigliano, lui perde.

The Wall (1982) è un sinistro affresco rock a tinte espressioniste e surrealiste: una star rivive in camera d'albergo le angosce e i traumi del passato che lo stanno conducendo all'autodistruzione; uno shock videosonoro.

Birdy (1984), adapted from William Wharton's book, analizza un reduce del Vietnam impazzito che crede di essere un uccello e che si ritrova in un ospedale psichiatrico con un vecchio compagno di scuola; flashback fatti da due diversi punti di vista spiegano la loro difficile e comica crescita nei ceti bassi, con Birdy già invaghito del volo degli uccelli; alla fine non sarà l'amico a guarire Birdy, ma Birdy a sedurre l'amico, anch'egli carico di ferite esistenziali e belliche.

Angel Heart (1987), detective movie barocco e soprannaturale e condito di occulto: De Niro, ricco ambiguo gentiluomo, commissiona a un piccolo detective le indagini su un famoso cantante scomparso che gli deve dei soldi; il detective incappa in una serie di cadaveri nel mondo del voodoo, e in una sua sacerdotessa, con cui fa l'amore.

Mississippi Burning (1988) ricostruisce i fatti seguiti all'uccisione di tre persone ad opera del Ku Klux Klan, fra cui uno sceriffo. L'indagine si compie in un crescendo di eventi infurianti e commoventi.

Il film comincia con l'incendio di una chiesa, nel 1964. Due membri del movimento dei diritti civili e un nero che li accompagnava vengono uccisi dal Ku Klux Klan. I tre spariscono nel nulla e due agenti dell'FBI vengono incaricati delle indagini: Anderson (Hackman), un detective stagionato che e` cresciuto nel Sud e sa come ragiona quella gente, e Ward, un giovane integerrimo ligio alle regole. Vengono accolti dal paese con diffidenza se non disprezzo. Entrambi si convincono che i tre siano stati assassinati, ma non riescono a ottenere aiuto da nessuno, nel paese regna l'omerta`. Ward commette tutti gli errori possibili. Interroga un nero in pubblico e, benche' il nero spaventatissimo non riveli nulla, il giorno dopo viene scaraventato giu` da un'auto in corsa, picchiato dai razzisti come avvertimento a tutti i neri. Ward sguinzaglia un esercito di centinaia di persone anche se Anderson lo mette in guardia che in tal modo sta scatenando una guerra. E infatti l'attenzione attirata dall'operazione, che crea il solito circo dei media, nuoce agli agenti. Anderson preferisce invece mescolarsi alla gente in maniera discreta, e in particolare cerca di guadagnarsi la fiducia della moglie del vice-sceriffo, un soggetto indisponente che ovviamente sa piu` di quanto ammetta (e` uno degli assassini, infatti).
I membri del K Klux Klan assaltano i fedeli che stanno lasciando una chiesa, senza aver pieta` neppure di donne e bambini. I bianchi sono indifferenti davanti alla persecuzione: davanti alle telecamere danno la colpa ai neri. Anderson sfida il vice-sceriffo nel covo dei Ku Klux Klan, un pub aperto soltanto ai membri. Ward e Anderson spiano il vice-sceriffo e lo vedono partecipare al sequestro e al pestaggio di un nero, ma e` inutile: il nero ha troppa paura per denunciare gli aggressori. Il vice-sferiffo si prende gioco di Ward che lo interroga con gran pompa. La violenza intanto continua: tre bianchi gettano una bomba che incendia la catapecchia di una famiglia nera. Questa volta un ragazzo nero accetta di collaborare. Ward e Anderson riescono a portare i tre colpevoli davanti a un giudice, ma il giudice li assolve e accusa gli agenti dell'FBI di aver causato il problema con le loro provocazioni. La rappresaglia contro i neri e` immediata: i bianchi danno fuoco alla casa del ragazzo e linciano il padre.
Finalmente vengono ritrovati i cadaveri dei tre attivisti scomparsi. Il vice-sceriffo, avvertito che la moglie e` troppo socievole con Anderson, la picchia selvaggiamente. Anderson, furibondo, manda al diavolo i regolamenti di Ward, ma Ward e` adesso disposto a tutto e lo segue. Anderson assolda un nero per sequestrare e minacciare di castrazione un bianco che sa tutto. Cosi` scoprono finalmente cio` che accadde ai tre attivisti. Cominciano a tendere trappole ai responsabili. Anderson prende a pugni il vice-sceriffo, che non commette l'errore di difendersi. Convincono un altro a parlare inscenando un linciaggio. Cominciano a scattare gli arresti, che culminano con lo sceriffo e il vice-sceriffo.
Ma vengono tutti condannati a sentenze puramente simboliche da giurie ammaestrate, sentenze che non fanno certamente giustizia di tre omicidi e infiniti atti di intimidazione.
Parker trasforma la una nobile denuncia anti-razzista in un'orgia di violenza brutale (pestaggi, linciaggi, bombe, omicidi, incendi). E, per sconfiggere i terroristi, i giustizieri devono usare i loro stessi metodi di terrore.
If English is your first language and you could translate the Italian text, please contact me.

The mediocre Come See the Paradise (1990) is a historical drama about the internment of ethnic Japanese citizens in the USA during World War II.

The Commitments (1991) is a funny musical based on Roddy Doyle's 1987 novel, one of Parker's few excursions into comedy.

The Road to Wellville (1994) is an adaptation of T. Coraghessan Boyle's 1993 novel, which in turn is a fictional biography of John Harvey Kellogg

Evita (1996) is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1978 musical.

Angela's Ashes (1999) is an adaptation of Frank McCourt's 1996 book.

The Life of David Gale (2003), scripted by Charles Randolph, is a magisterial thriller that plays with the viewer's mind. At the end it suddenly all makes sense that the man whose life had been ruined by a heinous college student would decide to sacrifice his life for a noble cause. Until a few minutes from the end we think that the one who is sacrificing is his friend, but his friend was dying anyway: he, on the other hand, didn't have to.

The film is set in Texas, a state notorious for enjoying executing convicts. The film opens with a young woman, Bitsey, who is running desperate along a road. We assume that she is running away from someone. A flashback shows what happened a few days earlier. Bitsey is a journalist who is assigned an interview with David Gale, a man on death row who is going to be executed in a few days. The newspaper has to pay a fortune for the interview. He specifically chose her. The newspaper's director forces her to accept a rookie, Zack, to travel with her to the prison, While they are driving, Zack tells her that he doesn't believe a clever man like David, an academic, would commit such a stupid murder: it was too easy to incriminate him, the murder was too clumsy. The car has an engine problem and they have to stop at a rest area, where they notice a cowboy in a truck spying on them. She is admitted into the prison for her first day of interview. David tells her that she picked her out of all journalists who were dying to interview him because she spent seven days in jail to protect her professional secret: she can keep a secret. And then David begins the story of his life. He was a charismatic college teacher until he had a sexy student, Berlin, expelled for trying to seduce him in return for good grades. The student later seduced him for real at a party, in a bathroom, while he was drunk as usual, and asked him to use violence on her for maximum pleasure, a fact that left bruises and scratches on her body. That was her revenge: she told the police that he raped her and ruined his career. In his spare time David volunteered for DeathWatch, an organization devoted to fighting the death penalty, working alongside his old friend Constance. The day after the encounter with Berlin, David lost a television debate with the state's governor because David couldn't mention a single person executed in Texas who was later found to be innocent. Berlin's accusation also ruined his marriage. His wife was already cheating with him, a fact known to him and all his friends, and one day took their son and fled the country. While Bitsey is interviewing David, Zack learns that David stuck with his lawyer even if his lawyer made all possible mistakes. Bitsey and Zack visit the house where the crime was committed, which now belongs to a cynical fat punkette who makes money giving curious tourists a tour of the the scene of the crime. The victim was Constance, who was killed in a brutal way, naked, apparently after being raped, suffocated with a bag, with her hands handcuffed in the back, and forced to swallow the key. The odd thing is that a tripod was found facing the victim, as if someone had made a video of the killing. David's semen was found inside the victim's uterus. When they leave the house, Bitsey and Zack notice again the cowboy in the truck. The second day of interview David points out that someone must have a videotape of the killing. David tells Bitsey of how he accepted to go to a rehab clinic to get rid of his alcohol addition, how he took a regular job, and continued to help Constance, but one day found out that she was dying of leukemia. One night Bitsey sees that someone has been in her motel room and finds a tape. The tape contains only a few minutes of the murder but enough to disgust her: it shows the last moments of Constance naked on the floor asphyxiating. Someone must own the video of the whole murder, not just those few minutes. Bitsey suspects that David has been framed by right-wing militants who hate abolitionists like him and wanted to not only destroy his life but also discredit him publicly. The cowboy in a truck follows them for a while. The tape doesn't help David's cause because she cannot prove that someone else placed it there: it could be that David told her about it. Bitsey accidentally sees the cowboy and tells Zack to tail him while she takes a taxi to the prison. The cowboy, however, loses Zack in the roads of the countryside. It's the third day of the interview. David tells her who the cowboy is: Dusty, a devoted member of DeathWatch and a devoted friend of Constance. Bitsey jumps to the conclusion that Dusty killed Constance out of jealousy for David's love story with David, but David denies that there was a love story. A flashback shows how Constance happened to have her semen inside: Constance was depressed, dying, regretting not have had enough sex, and that night, and only that night, David had sex with her. The following day he was arrested for the murder of Constance. David tells Bitsey that he has no illusion of saving his own life but wants Bitsey to find out the truth and publish it so that David's memory will be redeemed for his son. Bitsey spends the night studying the pictures and the tape of the murder. The day of the execution she has an enlightenment: something in the tape doesn't look right. She takes Zack back to the scene of the crime and tries to reenact the murder. She proves to Zack that Constance committed suicide: after sex with David, Constance, naked, swallowed the key, put the bag on her head, taped it, handcuffed herself and waited to die. Constance faked a murder to frame David. Constance was dying anyway, and she decided to fake a murder that would incriminate an innocent, David. Bitsey finds a motive: Constance and Dusty, two fanatic abolitionists, wanted to prove to the world that one innocent had executed, precisely the point that cost David the debate with the governor. Meanwhile, David is being taken to the cell near the place where he will executed. A crowd is assembly outside: some people praying, some people protesting, some people cheering. Bitset wants to save David's life but needs the whole video of the murder, and she now believes that Dusty has it. Dusty is home listening to opera. Zack finds a pretext to call him to a meeting while Bitsey enters the house and searches for the tape. When she finds it she is shocked to see that her theory is right: the tape shows Dusty too on the scene of the "murder". Dusty, however, is just outside, unseen, and is not stopping her from taking the video. Now Bitsey and Zack know for sure that David is innocent and try desperately to stop the execution. Unfortunately, Bitsey's car, that had an engine problem, breaks down just before she can reach the prison. And she starts running on the road: that's the first scene of the film. David is executed. She arrives too late. The following day all the television networks are breaking the news that David was innocent. At the same time as see Dusty all dressed up meeting David's lawyer at the airport. The lawyer deliver a suitcase full of money, the payment from the newspaper, to Dusty and an air ticket. Now the police is looking for Dusty, guilty of withdrawing the tape that would have proven David's innocence. Dusty is already in the town where David's wife leaves with David's son. he rings the bell and leaves the suitcase on her front door. Dusty then attends a performance of a Puccini opera in which a humiliated woman commits suicide. At the same time Bitsey at the newspaper receives a videotape sent by David. This videotape continues where the previous one ended: it shows another man on the scene of the "murder", David himself. He was part of the plot to frame himself. Having lost everything, he too had nothing to live for, and so he too sacrificed his life for the cause. So he was guilty in a sense, but he picked Bitsey precisely because he knew that she would keep the secret.

Alan Parker died in 2020.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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