Monday, June 13, 2011

Double RIP Train - Gunnar Fischer and Laura Ziskin

So a sad day once again in film, with two notable (if just shy of legendary) figures passing on, one with a very full life, and one with so much time left and cut off short.

First, the "old-timer", and how appropriate that Gunnar Fischer, a cinematographer from Sweden with many films under his belt, should have been not only Ingmar Bergman's first major collaborator behind the scenes, but also DP of the iconic The Seventh Seal.

So, let that just sink in for a second, this man:

shot this:

Oh yeah, that's bad-ass.  Adding to that he is also responsible for the eerie and moving lighting for the dream sequences of Wild Strawberries, and an underrated little gem from Bergman featuring one hell of a Beethoven ending, To Joy.  Among his other credits, which can be found here, he had shot... well, all the notable Bergman films pre-"Silence" trilogy, which is when Sven Nykvist came on the scene.  His work in Summer with Monika, Smiles of a Summer Night, and Thirst aren't to be sneezed at, as it's filled with expression and life and always in black and white (naturally, since Bergman didn't work with color till the mid 60's).  That he helped make Bergman become one of THE directors of all time is not to be underestimated (in fact I'll include not one but TWO clips from his work with Bergman to illustrate this point).  Perhaps this will finally be the kick in my pants I needed to watch The Magician (1958).

...But that death, while sad, had the man marked at age 100 at the time of passing, which even beats out Ingmar Bergman's death at 89 (yes, perverse shit I am, I do keep count of these things).  Whereas the producer and sometimes writer Laura Ziskin has passed at 61 from breast cancer.  According to reports, she died with her family by her side, which includes Spider-Man 2 writer Alvin Sergeant, and leaves behind a fine little legacy.

Starting out as an associate producer on The Eyes of Laura Mars (a movie I reviewed here on this blog way back some months ago), she moved on up over time to produce the outrageous comedy like What About Bob? (also writer of), then moving on create FOX 2000 pictures, which under 20th Century Fox made such risky fare like The Thin Red Line and Fight Club.

Then she basically made bank for the rest of her life by being one of the main producers of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (also listed as producer of the new reboot slated for next year, so expect a "To Laura" either at the start or end of the film most likely).  From all accounts she was a great person to work with, and obviously heralded some good projects in her time - full filmography on the link above - and fought long as she could until she couldn't anymore.

RIP to them both.

And, as usual, pictures mean a thousand more words than I could come up with.  What's up on the screen matters, and a cinematographer and a producer can each live on through the work they helped the director's make real.  So there:

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