Friday, November 28, 2008

Out in Film: Gus Van Sant

Idol worship: Gus Van Sant, director/writer/producer.

- He would begin exploring the major thematic subject of all his works, the lives of those living on the fringes of society, with his first film, the gay indie classic Mala Noche.

- Continuing that theme, he would find great success with Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, both of which won him Independent Spirit Awards and many other prizes.

- Following his flop adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, he bounced back with the acclaimed black comedy To Die For and his biggest box office hit, Good Will Hunting. He received his first Academy Award nomination as Best Director for the latter.

- After his infamous "shot-for-shot" Psycho remake and the Will Hunting-esque Finding Forrester, he would return to his indie roots with a string of often controversial art house fare, including Gerry, the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner Elephant, Last Days (these three comprised his unofficial "Death Trilogy") and Paranoid Park.

- His most recent film Milk, the critically acclaimed biopic of gay icon Harvey Milk, marks his return to big budget filmmaking, but still bares his distinctly independent eye for telling the stories of those outside the mainstream.

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