Richard Linklater: American cinema’s last true maverick?

The Boyhood directors relaxed individualism is celebrated in a new documentary about his sprawling, and often brilliant, career

If you could enter into the mindset of one of the great established American film-makers of our age into the movies they construct, and the personal creative vortex they emerge from who would you chose? Would it be mechanical David Fincher, the Kubrickian 80 -takes man, once accused of using actors like mere hues in his palette? Would it be the inscrutable Paul Thomas Anderson, daring you to love his increasingly fractured movies? Or the mind of on-set screamer David O Russell, whose work exhibits, movie by movie, an extreme waxing and wane of directorial surehandedness?

Id opted the quiet life, and the organic and artisanal work of Richard Linklater, whos well profiled by fellow Austin scene-maker Louis Black in Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny . The film weaves a neat cats cradle of narrative backward and forward across Linklaters career, starting on the set of his newest cinema Everybody Wants Some !!( sequel of sorts to his third feature Dazed& Confounded ), then cutting back to the hardscrabble economics and sense of collaboration that got his $23,000 indie pacesetter Slacker built. Threaded in all regions of the movie are the 12 -year filming process of Boyhood, and the three romantic stepping stones that form the trilogy Before Sunrise/ Sunset/ Midnight.

Id virtually forgotten that Linklater was deemed back then to have invented the slacker generation, and was lumbered for a while with that career-millstone role of being deemed its spokesman. Our understanding of him as an artist took a while to ripen as his repertoire widened to show his range in much the way the movies themselves grow with recurred viewings.

As he developed, you began to notice how French he was, or at least how much warmth he shared with humanists such as Renoir or Truffaut; then how homemade and hand-crafted his movies felt( literally, in the case of the post-animated Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly ); how hes always had his own John Wayne( Matthew McConaughey) and Henry Fonda( Ethan Hawke ); and how he strives for the unforced small dramatic moment think of the wordless listening-booth scene in Before Sunrise that somehow discloses everything.

All this without cinema school, only what he learned from stimulating it up with his friends as “hes been gone” along. Linklater, the happy autodidact, is the very least referential director of his generation; happy to be himself and no one else. He, more than anyone his age, is constructing movies not about other movies, but about life itself; two words that could be the title of almost any one of his works.

Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny is in cinema from Friday

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