Win Tickets: As a special benefit for BMFI patrons, we will be giving away two pairs of complimentary tickets to the event. Enter your name* and write your own tag line for your favorite Robert Zemeckis movie (eg. "No man is an island" for Cast Away, etc.) Our two favorite entries will win. Entries are due by Thursday, October 25 at noon. We’ll announce the winner right here on our blog.
On Robert Zemeckis
By Carrie Rickey, Film Critic and BMFI Board Member
A recurring image in Robert Zemeckis films is that of a solitary figure surprised and delighted by human connection.
There’s Kathleen Turner as the romance writer who lives out one of her literary adventures in Romancing the Stone (1984). There’s Michael J. Fox as the time-travelling teenager in Back to the Future (1985) who in better understanding his father’s adolescence improves his own. There’s Tom Hanks as the modern Robinson Crusoe in Cast Away (2000) who, denied human companionship, learns its blessings.
|Robert Zemeckis on the set of Flight|
But before the PFF screening, Oscar-winning filmmaker Zemeckis will join me at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to talk about his singular career, which includes Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump and Contact.
A wizard who weds bleeding-edge technology to humanist narrative, Zemeckis films are as intriguing for their digital effects as they are for how he integrates them to tell primal stories. No matter how many times I watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), I always gasp at the seamlessness of the 3-D human world of private eye Bob Hoskins and the 2-D “toon town” where he investigates a crime that might be the sequel to Chinatown.
Because Zemeckis has always been an early-adopter of the newest technology (consider the special effects he employed in 1992’s Death Becomes Her or the motion-capture animation of 2004’s The Polar Express) he has, somewhat unfairly, been tagged as one more interested in effects than story. If you look at his films in sequence, as I have, you’ll be reminded that in them character comes first and that effects are used in the service of advancing the story.
Zemeckis favors long takes that inevitably put the moviegoer into the character’s shoes and a fluid camera that communicates the character’s context.
|Jodie Foster stars in Contact|
It’s in Contact that the filmmaker who first took us Back to the Future and then through the American Century in Forrest Gump takes us to the edge of the cosmos.
What’s your favorite Zemeckis film?
Carrie Rickey, longtime Inquirer movie critic, teaches at UPenn and writes for various publications, including The New York Times. Follow her at www.carrierickey.com.
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