Oscar Award winning director Anthony Minghella died today at 54. The short version is he died of complications from a recent operation that had seemed to be a success, details are at the Guardian UK.
Below, I've posted a link to my personal favorite of Minghella's film work. It's his contribution to the Beckett on Film project, a high-reaching, hypnotizing adaptation of Play. When this premiered on PBS, I taped it because knew Alan Rickman was in it, but I was completely drawn in by the film regardless of Rickman's (quite excellent) performance. I ended up carrying the taped version around with me and forcing my friends to watch it, and while I can't swear they all had the, let's say, emotional stamina to enjoy it, not one could say they watched it passively. What makes the adaption of Play so masterful is that Minghella transforms what might seem to be a bare-bones theater piece with little room for interpretation (read the stage setting of the playscript and try to imagine how you might put such a thing on film) into a piece where the camera itself becomes a character, and the cinematic language of close-ups, zooms, rack focuses and the rest become an expression of power. Let's also remember to co-credit the director with the amazing performances by Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliet Stevenson, and Alan Rickman.
Play remains my favorite short film of all time.
Part two after the jump (damn YouTube)...