From Paul Schrader, the acclaimed director of Affliction, The Comfort of Strangers, American Gigolo, Blue Collar and Cat People, and the screenwriter of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ, comes Auto Focus, an absorbing glimpse into the colourful life, and mysterious death, of actor Bob Crane. Handsome and charming, Crane became well known as the star of television’s hit comedy Hogan`s Heroes (1965-1971). Capitalizing on his fame, Crane dove into the freewheeling spirit of the times with relish, having affairs with numerous women. (Auto Focus is a fascinating chronicle of American male sexual identity in the sixties and seventies.) Eventually, Crane teamed up with video technician John Carpenter to document his exploits, an association that may very well have led to his murder in a Scottsdale, Arizona motel room in 1978. –Mongrel Media
Raised in a strict religious household in Michigan, writer/director Paul Schrader studied theology at Calvin College and didn’t see a movie until he was in his late teens. His stern background would fuel many of the themes throughout his career: downbeat stories of characters who violently break down in oppressive situations. Transfixed by the cinema and encouraged by critic Pauline Kael, he moved to Los Angeles and became a film scholar at U.C.L.A. He wrote movie reviews for newspapers, edited the magazine Cinema, and wrote the highly influential critical essay “The Trancendental Style: Ozu, Bresson, Dryer.” After a period of heavy drinking and serious depression, he sold his first screenplay, The Yakuza, a Japanese thriller co-written with his brother, Leonard, and Robert Towne. The next year, Schrader wrote Taxi Driver, the grim tale of urban alienation. Taxi Driver started his successful collaborative relationship with director Martin Scorsese, another… read more
I took a long shower after watching this - to rinse off the slimy feeling I couldn't shake. Schrader's films do that to me, yet there is no denying that this is an excellent movie, esp. for its acting. The handsome but bland visage of Greg Kinnear was the perfect choice to play Bob Cramer, playing off Willem Dafoe's vile take on Carpenter. And (sob!) I used to love Hogan's Heroes.
For anyone in London, Auto Focus will be showing as part of a Voyeurism Double Bill with sex, lies, and videotape, on Sun 8th January, at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston (only £5 on the door). Venue listing is here: http://tinyurl.com/cu5cyyj and the blog page is here: http://t.co/wh6248qQ.