Thirty years without David Lean, the last great classic | Culture

“I love to capture images on a screen. It fascinates me to see how a scene is edited, ”said filmmaker David Lean. “For me it is enormously exciting. It has been my life. And I’m not doing it for money. In fact, if I had money, what I would do is give it to the producers so that they would hire me, “he added ironically.

Lean has been described as the last great classic that the history of cinema has given. Thanks to his films, viewers of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and even the 1980s were able to experience great adventures and passionate love stories. Actor Omar Sharif, who worked with him on Lawrence de Arabia Y Doctor Zhivago, He said that Lean films always had some magic and he himself admitted that he was looking for that pinch when he got behind the cameras. “More and more I realize that reality on screen is boring. Movies are like a dream, right? And I think they should have an aura of unreality. And that’s what I’m trying to do, ”he said.

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This Friday, April 16, when David Lean died 30 years ago, TCM will remember this great director by broadcasting three of his most famous films: Ryan’s daughter, The Bridge on the River Kwai Y Lawrence de Arabia. In addition, viewers of the channel will be able to see Nostromo: David Lean’s Impossible Dream, a self-produced documentary, directed by Pedro González Bermúdez, in which, thanks to the testimonies of friends and collaborators, the complicated process that this frustrated project of making Joseph Conrad’s novel went through is reconstructed.

David Lean was born in Croydon, England, on March 25, 1908. He went through all the trades of the film industry until, in 1942, the famous playwright and filmmaker Noël Coward called on him as an assistant for his film Blood, sweat and tears. “He said, ‘I want to make a film about the British navy. Would you help me direct it? I’ve never directed and don’t know the technical tricks of the trade. ‘ Apparently he had been asking around which technicians were the best in the studio and someone gave him my name. In this way I became a director ”, he recalled.

In 1946 he released the first of his greatest hits: Brief encounter, one of the most beautiful romantic stories that the cinema has given. Later he adapted two works by Charles Dickens: Broken chains, based on the novel Big hopes, Y Oliver Twist. In 1957, with The Bridge on the River Kwai, got his first international triumph. He won the Oscar for best director, a prize he won again in 1963 with Lawrence de Arabia. “I like to keep a tight grip on all the elements of a movie. I think that is being a director: fostering the talent of others and extracting from them all the things that you imagined when you were working on the script. In that sense I think I am a kind of friendly dictator. “

Then came titles like Doctor Zhivago O Ryan’s daughter. “I’ve always wanted to make movies that I would have liked to see when I went to a cinema,” he explained. “I love good movies. And a fundamental thing to be able to do one is to tell a good story that is above fashion and that has good characters. Maybe that’s why I’ve only directed 16 feature films. I have spent much of my life reading stories, carefully choosing my projects and working on the scripts. “

In 1984 he directed his last film, Passage to India, based on the novel by EM Forster. The film was a candidate for eleven Oscars. She won two: Maurice Jarre for the soundtrack and Peggy Ashcroft for best supporting actress. David Lean was nominated three times: director, screenwriter and editor. “Personally, I enjoy editing almost more than directing the film. I think it is the most fascinating work. People think editing is basically cutting scenes. I see it more as joining, mixing images and thus shaping a story. You can’t turn a bad movie into a good one by editing, but you can make it tolerable. And, of course, you can ruin a good movie with a bad editing. “

Before he died, David Lean had one last film project. It was Nostromo, Based on the novel by Joseph Conrad. A film that could not finally be made because the insurance companies did not want to endorse him, due to his age and his fragile health. “This industry thrives on creative explorers. We are in great danger. I think there are some great new filmmakers now. They are going to be our future. Please, those of you who put the money, remember what they are, “he said in one of his last public appearances.

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