Trained in the league of great publicity stunt makers, like other of his famous British colleagues, such as Ridley and Tony Scott, Alan Parker knew how to conceive his own film style.
His cinematographic work enjoys many points of value: it is varied, visually original, great actors paraded through it, and his scripts had a narrative architecture distanced from the bland and overwhelming number of productions of the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Since his debut, with the telefilm “The Evacuees” (1974), a war drama that tells the story of the pilgrimage of two Jewish brothers between the mistreatment of their adoptive parents and the violence inherent in the war, Parker showed a natural talent for telling full stories nuances. An International Emmy Award and notable reviews supported this discreet debut.
“Bugsy Malone” (1975), written by Parker, a funny gangster parody full of musical elements, put him on the international plane and was a cover letter for Columbia Pictures to put him at the forefront of the ambitious project “Midnight Express” ( 1978), written by none other than an ambitious Oliver Stone, who a few years later would be a star thanks to “Scarface” (1982).
But before this tape, with which the British director “broke it”, as they say now, he had to do “No Hard Feelings” (1976), as part of a contract he had previously with the BBC.
With an Oscar nomination for Best Director for “Express”, which won two awards (Stone for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Giorgio Moroder for Best Music), Parker started a new decade with “Fame” (1980), an existentialist musical and dramatic around a music academy, its teachers and its rebellious and extroverted students, in which the seed of its talent for the genre remained.
Again repercussion in the Oscars: two medals, Best Music and Best Song (“Fame”). Nothing more to give this perspective, in Spotify the playlist has at least 5,000 listeners per month.
It would follow the now mythical “Pink Floyd- The Wall” (1982), written by Roger Waters himself, who years later would confess that a moment came, in the filming of the film, that only Parker was clear about the whole concept that he had devised . “His talent for translating music into images is beyond me. Alan is highly gifted, the movie is what it is for him, “would say the former leader of Pink Floyd.
The blessed 80s would have in Parker one of their most worthy representatives with titles like “Birdy” (1984), “Angel Heart” (1987) and “Mississippi Burning” (1988). For the first, he would win the Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, and for the third, a disturbing racial drama, he would add 7 Oscar nominations (including Best Director) and one for Best Photography.
The 1990s brought him fewer awards, but greater recognition from the world industry with films like “Come See the Paradise” (1990), “The Commitments” (1991), “The Road to Melville” (1994), “Evita” (1996 ) and “Angela’s Ashes” (1999).
With 55 years in tow and with various health problems that he always attended with discretion, Parker always remained faithful to his belief in making the films that interested him as a viewer.
He went through comedy, drama, musical and police with ease and greed. Oliver Stone, who like Parker is a filmmaker whose work as a writer is remarkable, argued last decade that if he appreciated anything about his colleague it was the “literature” of his stories.
In 2003 he filmed his latest film, “The Life of David Gale”, an intense prison drama about a death row inmate, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet, which earned him the Berlin Golden Bear nomination.
The BAFTA Awards for Best British Cinema recognized him as a director and even an honorary award, and he was awarded a Golden Globe for “Evita”, but the Hollywood Academy never gave him an Oscar.