As BOYHOOD – the last film of Richard Linklater – is screened at the cinema now, we decided to dedicate this week’s spotlight to this American director.
Richard Linklater was born in 1960 in Houston, Texas. Far from having an already traced path dedicated to cinema, Richard Linklater dropped his studies at the university to work in an off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1984, the future director of BOYHOOD enrolls in the Austin Community University in order to study cinema. He will later become a significant and innovative actor of the American film renaissance of the 1990’s
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO LEARN TO PLOW BY READING BOOKS is the first significant featured film of this Texan director. Even if rarely screened, it is meaningful as it already displays some of Linklater’s distinctive features in filmmaking such as his uncluttered filming and scenario.
Three years later, in 1991, SLACKER his first breakthrough, was released and it gained a warm welcome at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is also the beginning of a very much appreciated scenario characteristic of the Texan filmmaker, namely the making of films that stories last one day.
DAZED AND CONFUSED confirmed Linklater’s talent and revealed Matthew McConaughey to the public. It recall the last school day of high school and junior high students. Every ingredient of the Linklater’s cocktail is combined: a very simple plot unraveling in one day, staging young characters.
In 1995, BEFORE SUNRISE uses once more a daily frame for its plot. Ethan Hawke –who then became one of Linklater’s favorite actor- stars the role of a young American travelling in Europe. In a train, he meets a French Student embodied By Julie Delpy and together, they enjoy the time they have before their separation next morning. The movie received a Silver Bear for Best Director in 1995. Linklater directed two more sequences based on this story: BEFORE SUNSET in 2004 and BEFORE MIDNIGHT in 2013.
Linklater’s work is also characterized by its diversity. In 1998, he explores the western and gangster film genre with NEWTON BOYS. He jumped to experimental animation in 2001 with WAKING LIFE. In 2006, far from the comedy, he adapts the best seller FAST FOOD NATION into a film interrogating the fast food industry in the USA.
After films such as A SCANNER DARKLY and ME AND ORSON WELLES, the attention turned towards his new film, BOYHOOD which was made over 12 years in the following of a boy’s evolution. Critics praise the boldness of this adventurous project, and at ÉCU, we can do nothing but recommend it!
Richard Linklater didn’t leave his native Texas for Hollywood and is based in Austin. Through his career, he kept on surprising us, juggling with different genre naturally. In spite of this diversity, Linklater has his distinctive touch constructed by a mix of film features: short time frame, little camera movement, uncluttered narration, interest for youth and favorite actors such as Ethan Hawke. A winning formula!