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This post was edited by angela627 at 2012-3-21 13:42|
The surprising and surreal films that gave these iconic film directors their early starts
A poster for director Francis Ford Coppola's first film, Battle Beyond the Sun A.P. Dovzenko FilmstudioFlea-market hero and filmmaker Gary Huggins recently unearthed director Robert Altman's first film—a documentary short called Modern Football. He found the gem at a Kansas City area sale, where he purchased several old film reels for a whopping ten bucks. Imagine his surprise when one of them turned out to be the Gosford Park director's lost movie. The early work is one of 27 sponsored shorts the filmmaker made for Kansas City company Calvin Communications, and no other print is know to exist. Every great filmmaker found their start somewhere. Although some would probably like to forget those early works, we've decided to pull a mom-breaks-out-the-old-school-photos moment and share them with you. Even in their younger years, these filmmakers were obviously destined for greatness—space creatures, rough-cut animation, and all.
David Lynch, Six Figures Getting Sick (1966)David Lynch wanted to create an organic, moving version of his paintings while studying at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The project grew into his first film, Six Figures Getting Sick, a looped and animated short that incorporated a sculptured screen and projector. The figures are casts of Lynch’s head and were created with the help of friend and Eraserhead star Jack Fisk. The director’s fire, vomit, and body horror experiment eventually transformed into the quieter kind of terror we know today.
Peter Jackson, The Valley (1976)Before Peter Jackson was making more money than the entire universe with his Lord of the Rings franchise, he was a 15-year-old film geek gawking at King Kong and dreaming about creating his own opus for the big screen while experimenting with a Super 8 camera. Jackson was influenced by FX genius Ray Harryhausen when he came up with The Valley. The time-travel tale found Jackson in his own movie, starring as one of four prospectors who battles for their lives in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by mythical beasts. You can catch a glimpse of Jackson’s first film in the documentary The Sci-Fi Boys (currently available on Netflix Instant Watch).
Roman Polanski, Rower (The Bicycle) (1955)Roman Polanski attended Poland’s Lodz film school and made his directorial debut with a short called Rower (The Bicycle) in 1955. It was based on a frightening, real-life experience the director had when he was attacked by a wanted murderer. Polanski attempted to purchase a bicycle from a criminal — whose criminality was unknown to the filmmaker — was robbed, and then beaten until his skull was fractured. The guy was eventually arrested, and Polanski was left with a wild story to tell. The film, however, is believed to be lost.
Wes Anderson, Bottle Rocket (1994)Wes Anderson’s film career has been closely tied to actor Owen Wilson. The star of The Royal Tenenbaums has collaborated with the director on numerous projects, but it was Anderson’s 13 minute short Bottle Rocket that marked their first co-writing venture. Shot in 1992 and released two years later, the black and white film shows two petty criminals bantering about and was the foundation for Anderson’s feature version of the same name, released in 1996. The short’s quirky, naturalistic performances are absolute Anderson — including the opening conversation about Starsky and Hutch.
George Lucas, Look At Life (1965)While studying at USC, Star Wars god George Lucas created several 16 mm cinéma vérité shorts. Look at Life was his first and combines photos of the 1960′s cultural landscape, with a doomsday ending. The animation course for which Lucas created the project required that the film run-one minute long. Snapshots of intense imagery — including pics of Martin Luther King Jr., the Ku Klux Klan, and war-ravaged soldiers — helped the young director make a grand entrance in a successful career.