Wednesday, July 05, 2006

 

Documentary ‘Edge of Outside’ celebrates the original movie rebels


Talk of maverick filmmakers often revolves around players from the current American independent movie scene, John Sayles, Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith, to name a few. In fact, we refer to this trio as “indie” veterans; directors who can discuss the beginnings of contemporary alternative cinema (the 1980s) with firsthand knowledge.
But serious talk about rebel cinema means going back to the original mavericks, directors who worked some forty years before Soderbergh’s 1989 debut drama “sex, lies and videotape.”
Shannon Davis, senior vice president of original production Turner Classic Movies (TCM), directs and produces the documentary mini-feature “Edge of Outside,” a celebration of early mavericks: Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller, Sam Peckinpah and John Cassavetes.
Before there was a Sundance Film Festival and Miramax Films, back before the digital revolution and inexpensive digital cameras and multi-hour cartridges, filmmakers like Kubrick and Ray worked within the studio system and yet, still managed to make distinct movies that spoke to their own interests, talents and personalities.
Like all historical documentaries, “Edge of Outside” thrives on its archival footage and face-the-camera interviews from various opinion makers.
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese provides welcome passion and heartfelt enthusiasm. Actress Gena Rowlands discusses her husband John Cassavetes with warmth and love.
John Sayles, director of modern-day landmarks “Lone Star” and “The Return of the Secaucus 7,” helps bridge the gap between past and the current “indie” scenes with thoughtful commentary.
Repertory cinemas that play film classics are a thing of the past for many people. So TCM steps in with a calendar of “maverick” films throughout July. If you want to fully understand alternative cinema today, it’s essential to acquaint oneself with the mavericks that came earlier.


“Edge of Outside” premieres July 5 on Turner Movie Classics (TCM). The original documentary repeats throughout July with a calendar of movies featuring filmmakers discussed in the film. Highlights include Sam Peckinpah’s “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” Samuel Fuller’s “The Naked Kiss” and Nicholas Ray’s “On Dangerous Ground.”

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