Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Richard C. Sarafian – RIP

Richard C. Sarafian died on September 18, 2013, aged 83, following complications with pneumonia. A veteran of the Korean War, he was a reporter, then worked as assistant to director, Robert Altman, before starting on his own directing career.
I’ll remember him best for his 1971 movie Vanishing Point.

Kowalski [Barry Newman], is a Vietnam veteran and former cop. Driving a Dodge Challenger muscle car, he is pursued by police across the desert, as he races to get to his destination and win a bet. He encounters a naked biker [Gilda Texter] and gay hitch-hikers [Arthur Malet & Anthony James] along the way. Cleavon Little turns in a comical role as blind radio DJ, Super Soul.

This was the first road-chase-thriller movie I saw and it still stands as one of the best in the genre, with memorable chase sequences and location scenery.

It may seem dated now, but subsequent road thrillers like The Driver [1976], The Hitcher [1986], and Drive [2011], owe a huge debt to Vanishing Point, a true original and cult classic.

Dance Dance Dance, by Haruki Murakami ... excerpt

Along the way I stopped into a coffee shop. All around me normal, everyday city types were going about their normal, everyday affairs. Lovers were whispering to each other, businessmen were poring over spread sheets, college kids were planning their next ski trip and discussing the new Police album. We could have been in any city in Japan. Transplant this coffee shop scene to Yokohama or Fukuoka and nothing would seem out of place. In spite of which – or, rather, all the more because - here I was, sitting in this coffee shop, drinking my coffee, feeling a desperate loneliness. I alone was the outsider. I had no place here.
Of course, by the same token, I couldn't really say I belonged to Tokyo and its coffee shops. But I had never felt this loneliness there. I could drink my coffee, read my book, pass the time of day without any special thought, all because I was part of the regular scenery. Here I had no ties to anyone. Fact is, I'd come to reclaim myself.
― Haruki Murakami, [Dance Dance Dance].

The futility of worry ...

Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.
― Erma Bombeck.