Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Anthony Minghella, the Academy Award winning writer and director of The English Patient, Cold Mountain, and The Talented Mr Ripley, is dead of a hemorrhage at age 54. It is reported he may have been battling cancer of the tonsils, and had a growth removed from his neck last week.

I have to be honest and admit I'm not a huge fan of his work; his films were a little sterile, and frankly, a little dull, but he was a competent journeyman director with an eye for visuals. All three of his major films were beautiful to look at it, both well designed and photographed and Minghella had an eye for composition. It might not be the greatest accolade for a filmmaker, that you left the theater humming the scenery, costumes and set design, but film IS a visual medium so I guess there are worse things, like not remembering the films at all. (And I would still kill to have that robe that Ralph Fiennes wore in the sex scene in The English Patient!)I always thought Minghella was a writer/director who would have benefitted from having a strong writing partner with a gift for editing; it might have helped make the films sharper and tighter, (but a lot of filmmakers would benefit from such a partnership; it can help cut the flab off of the film). Regardless, Minghella was a well-liked liked and respected member of the film community, and by accounts, a generally nice guy and he will be missed.

His last project, an adaption of the best selling book, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, was a joint production of the BBC and HBO and will premiere in the UK, later this month. He is survived by his wife, a daughter, and his actor son, Max who is best known for his work in Art School Confidential.

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