Saturday, April 9, 2011

New York Director: Sidney Lumet 1924 - 2011

Sidney Lumet on location in his beloved New York City.

Sidney Lumet, director, screenwriter and producer died on Saturday, April 9th.

We had a conversation recently about who we should invite to be a guest speaker at the April 21st screening of These Amazing Shadows at the IFC Center Theater, New York. Thom Powers, who will be hosting the screening, suggested it would be great to have a noted New York filmmaker. The first name that came up was Sidney Lumet. Many of his films have the gritty realism that represents to the world the true nature of New York City.

Mr. Lumet has five films on the National Film Registry:
Dog Day Afternoon (1975), selected to the Registry in 2009.
12 Angry Men (1957), selected to the Registry in 2007.
King: A Filmed Record (1970), selected to the Registry in 1999.
Network (1976), selected to the Registry in 2000.
The Pawnbroker (1965), selected to the Registry in 2008.

His humanity, love of actors and willingness to unflinchingly examine human emotions will be missed.

All great work is preparing yourself for the accident to happen.
                                                                                - Sidney Lumet

1 comment:

  1. I grew up watching Sidney Lumet’s movies since age 11 or 12 years old or earlier. But it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties (I am 40 now) that I began to pay closer attention to who was behind a film’s pulse. I discovered that Mr. Lumet had been responsible for some of my favorite films ever, during the 70's, the best decade of film. Films that impacted me and influenced me as a person and future filmmaker.

    All from 12 Angry Men to Before the Devil knows you’re Dead, there’s a vulnerability and heartbreak in the center of the story that only a master like Lumet can pull off because of the subtlety and surgeon like precision with which he molded the performances and direction of the story.

    A typical Lumet character was flawed, self-destructive and an idealist all wrapped into one. It is this conflict and fatalist persona that made them so relative to the viewer; the dreamers in all of us and the constant redemption we inherently pursue . Like Frank Galvin, from The Verdict, the archetypal Lumet character that embodied the frailties and virtues of what it is to be human, the imperfections in all of us that I love about Lumet’s stories and characters. We all strive to be good but more often than not fail. Yet we try again and again to redeem ourselves.

    Give me a career like Sidney Lumet’s over many more popular directors, like Spielberg, anytime. I am saddened by this loss but inspired by what a purposeful lived life Mr. Lumet had.

    Ivan V.

    My top 5 Lumet films, The Verdict, Network, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and The Pawnbroker.