Mise-en-scene, now and then

Andrew Sarris

In the last week I’ve been photographing members of a new generation of American filmmakers participating in BAMcinemaFest (June 20-July 1).  The energy reminds me of my first shoots with directors (and actors) in the early 80s, with members of the Neue Deutsche Kino (in Munich, Berlin,  Salzburg, and New York)  and of the New York/New Wave (on the home turf, lower Manhattan).

The great film critic Andrew Sarris died today.  My first fascination with film and its auteurs was fed (more accurately, nourished) by reading his reviews in The Village Voice.

On August 7, 1983, I shot Günther Lamprecht and Barbara Sukowa, the two lead actors in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” assigned by legendary Voice photographer and photo editor Fred McDarrah.  On August 16, my two portraits ran with Sarris’ review of the incomparable film.

I have rarely felt so excited to see my work in print. The images were reproduced large, side by side, across all the columns.  It was nearly unbelievable to have my images on Andrew Sarris’ page in the Voice, and for a review of Fassbinder, and the caption, taken from the piece (and here I’m paraphrasing and most likely paraphrasing poorly),  said “the characters are ennobled by Fassbinder’s Mise-en-scene.”  It all made me feel very real, very adult.

Many years and many shoots with filmmakers later, and although I had seen him across many screening rooms before the lights went down, I finally met and photographed Andrew Sarris for Kent Jones’ incisive Film Comment profile .

Günther Lamprecht and Barbara Sukowa, NYC, 8/7/83

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One Response to Mise-en-scene, now and then

  1. Pingback: What Makes Duddy Itch | Talking Pictures

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