Death of Alan Parker, director of “Midnight Express” and “Mississippi Burning”

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Alan Parker is no more. A member of the British Film Institute, relayed by The Guardian, has just confirmed this afternoon the death of the British director, at 76, “after a long illness”. Between the 1970s and 1990s, Alan Parker was, along with John Boorman, Hugh Hudson, Adrian Lyne and Ridley Scott, one of the key British directors of great popular Hollywood cinema. In a vein certainly more provocative and political than his colleagues in Albion, Alan Parker signed his first feature film in 1976 with Rififi at the kids (Bugsy Malone in original version), a famous children’s comedy that revealed Jodie Foster to the general public. But it is with his second film, the terrifying Midnight Express, in 1978 Parker became a superstar of the 7e art. Written by Oliver Stone, taken from a true story, this account of the captivity in a Turkish prison of an American arrested for drug trafficking scandalized for his violence and his supposedly racist view of the Turkish people.

Alan Parker will then string together the outstanding works throughout the 1980s: the musical chronicle Fame (1980), the conceptual mystico-political trip Pink Floyd : The Wall (1982), the drama on madness Birdy (Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1985), then the incredible Angel Heart, sticky fantasy thriller starring Mickey Rourke (1987) and Mississippi Burning (1988), probably his best film, a police investigation in the heart of racist South America in the 1960s. Familiar with controversies, sometimes mocked by purists for the licked aestheticism of his staging, Alan Parker experienced a less flamboyant 1990s, from which emerged the sympathetic The Commitments (1991) and the big musical production Avoid, with Madonna in the title role (1996).

The director will offer the public two last beautiful dramas, Angela’s Ashes (1999) and above all The Life of David Gale (2003), with Kevin Spacey as an activist against the death penalty finding himself accused of murder. Over the course of his career, Alan Parker has collected a total of 19 Baftas (the British Oscars), 10 Golden Globes and 10 Oscars. He was also very involved in recent years in supporting the British film industry. He is therefore a very tall man from the 7e art that leaves us.

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