Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RIP Anthony Minghella

The first I knew of him was when my wife and I watched the English Patient back in sixthform. As writer and director, Minghella's talent drove a difficult tale from beginning to end, brilliantly making the two main characters of Count Almasy and Katherine Clifton, who are, lets face it, particularly selfish people - centred in their plight on their lust for one another - into a pair we can't help but watch and hope that it all works out for... even in knowing that it won't.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, for me, was a bloated character vehicle, but Cold Mountain, The Interpreter and Michael Clayton are all very well crafted stories that grip from beginning to end.

Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse series, spoke fondly of Minghella back when Minghella adapted his work for the screen. It was clear to Dexter that Minghella was talented even then, before he pushed on into directing and producing, earning himself an Oscar for the English Patient.

Back in 2006, Laura and I were lucky enough to attend a Gala evening in memory of Samuel Beckett:

On 2nd April 2006, a Gala Evening was held in the Concert Hall of Reading Town Hall in honour of Samuel Beckett. The anthology evening of Beckett readings and performances was directed by the Oscar-winning director, Anthony Minghella, and featured readings, recitals and performances by distinguished actors and theatre professionals who over the years have been involved in Beckett films and productions. All profits raised from the event went to Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Performers included Jude Law, Alan Rickman, Lee Evans, Felicity Kendal, Billie Whitelaw, Barry McGovern and Rosamund Pike.

- http://www.beckettfoundation.org.uk/beckett-2006/gala.html

Sharing the room with so many people - on stage and in the audience - all of whom had a shared interest and love in Beckett's work made for a brilliant night. The chosen readings and the play sections acted out before us were mesmerising, not least from Minghella's perfect direction.

As with the loss of Heath Ledger, Minghella's death is a shock and a shame.

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