Jonathan Demme – Filmmaker – Deceased

The death of an artist is as a sad a moment (sometimes too fleeting a moment) as the death of any human being. The death of an artist also prompts reflection on the artist’s oeuvre – it’s one of the reasons we say that someone who creates never really dies, not as long as the work they’ve created remains alive.

I am a lover of film – just another form of storytelling, really.

So having come across this post on the life and death of Jonathan Demme, I thought I’d pass it on here and share (in order of favourites, from among the ones I’ve seen) my favourite (favourite being subjective and not always a reflection of best by cine-finicky standards but often because of your personal relationship with and response to the film, at the time in your life that you saw it) Demme flicks. Hey, I mentioned I was a lover of film.

1. Married to the Mob
2. Swing Shift
3. The Silence of the Lambs
4. Philadelphia
5. Something Wild
6. The Manchurian Candidate

Yes, the farcical Married to the Mob is my favourite Demme film – don’t judge me; and, yes, my fond childhood memories of Swing Shift eclipse the uni-years chills of Silence of the Lambs in my visceral memory – go ahead, judge me, I deserve it.

That he worked with my literary idol of idols Haitian-American author Edwidge Dandicat, producing content on Haiti is another one for the plus column in my book, and reason enough for me to reeeaach and include him on a Caribbean literary blog. For the record, well, assuming my research is right, their collaborations include the film The Agronomist (film), Island on Fire (book), Haiti: Three Visions (book) – in fact, she was a production assistant and researcher at his Clinica Estetico, according to her, her first job out of graduate school, and, in fact, it was while working with Demme on Beloved that she met Oprah who went on to select Dandicat’s Breath Eyes Memory for her highly influential book club.

So, there’s your Caribbean connection, although great art doesn’t need to have a blood link to be appreciated. And come on, Married to the Mob (with Alec Baldwin, Matthew Modine, Oliver Platt, Dean Stockwell, Mercedes Ruehl, Joan Cusak, so many actors I like, including  the great Michelle Pfeiffer) is delightfully over the top, absurdist, farcical, entertaining, great art. So great, and so different from some of his more sober work (Philadelphia), it’s hard to believe that this is the same guy.

Our deepest condolences to Jonathan’s family–Joanne, Brooklyn, Ramona and Jos–neighbors and friends from Nyack. Jonathan’s generosity and support for my work on Haitian Art was unparalleled and I will be forever grateful. In lieu of flowers the family has asked that donations be made to the Miami-based group Americans For Immigrant Justice, which specializes in […]

via ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ director and steadfast friend of Haiti Jonathan Demme dead at 73 — Repeating Islands

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