It’s hard to remember just one film as this filmmaker will have made films that marked their era, from The Wall for the Pink Floyd, to Fame, but also and above all the punchy films Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning. We learned of the death of Alan Parker on July 31, 2020, at the age of 76 as a result of a long illness.
Before entering the film industry, Alan Parker worked at Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP), an advertising agency located in London. It was there that he wrote his first screenplays, including that of Melody adapted for the screen by Waris Hussein in 1971. In 1974, Alan Parker began directing and directed two short films entitled Our cissy and Footsteps respectively.
In 1976 his first feature film, Bugsy Malone, was released in theaters, a musical parody of the gangster films of the twenties, exclusively performed by children. His second film, the controversial prison drama Midnight Express (1978), won two Oscars for Best Music and Best Screenplay.
Change of register in 1980 with Fame, a hymn to youth and spectacle which will also be crowned with two Oscars, those of the Best Music and the Best Song. In 1982, Alan Parker remained in the musical field by signing Pink Floyd the wall, a film adaptation of the famous group’s rock album. Eight years later, he retraces in Les Commitments (1990) the eventful destiny of a group of soul music Irishman, and made his dream of a musical come true by directing Madonna in 1998 in Evita.
New critical success in 1984 with Birdy in which Alan Parker directs Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage. This drama won the Special Grand Jury Prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. His next film, Angel Heart (1986), taken from his own screenplay and played by Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro, raised controversy in the United States. , where the Motion Picture Association of America class X when it was released.
A fervent defender of civil rights and freedoms, Alan Parker directs Mississippi Burning (1988), a police investigation against a background of racial segregation, Bienvenue au paradis (1989), where he depicts the abusive internment of the Japanese in the United States during the Second World War, as well as The Life of David Gale (2003), a plea against the death penalty. In the meantime, he is adapting Frank McCourt’s autobiographical story The Ashes of Angela (2000) for the screen, starring Robert Carlyle and Emily Watson in the lead roles.
His latest film The Life of David Gale, with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet, came out in 2003. In 2015, he announced his retirement from the world of cinema. In the 2010s, he was honored by his peers, notably with a BAFTA for his career in 2013. The Champs Elysées Film Festival had also hosted him in 2015 for a tribute and a masterclass. Alan Parker dies at the age of 76, on July 31, 2020, following a long illness.
Mississippi Burning, among the director’s many cult films, recently hit theaters: