Roger Corman Retrospective

Roger Corman & Co, a wild angel in Hollywood.
RogerCorman   Corman2
For its 28th edition, FIDMarseille has chosen to put the spotlight on Roger Corman, who will come in person to present a retrospective of films that he has directed or produced since the mid-1950s. Of course, the retrospective will not be exhaustive, as M. Corman has directed more than fifty films and produced hundreds of them, thus ensuring a legacy beyond his film work: a record – even a legend. His legend is that of a splendid maverick of genre films who has shot a great number of films that combined art and unbridled imagination, and that were both irreverent and unassuming, like his acclaimed series of loose adaptations of Edgar Poe starring Vincent Price, Ray Milland, Peter Lorre and Barbara Steele, which he co-wrote with screenwriter Richard Matheson.

His legend is also that of a filmmaker who has single-handedly taken over B movies, a genre which had been forsaken by the major studios, and who has paved the way for the new waves and their joyous quest for an improvised, wordy and wily form of cinema. Peter Fonda or Jack Nicholson easily acknowledge what New Hollywood owes to Roger Corman, who has helped launching their careers. Not to mention, as far as actors are concerned other American movie stars like Pam Grier, Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine, or Charles Bronson, to name a few. Roger Corman has invented a kind of modernist B movie, a formula Tarantino remembered when he made Death Proof. It makes even more sense considering how Corman has also distributed masterpieces of contemporary European cinema, and even showed Cries and Whispers in a drive-in, which Bergman was thrilled to hear. “He exploited us as much as we exploited him”, is what many directors have to say about Corman, who gave them the opportunity to direct their first feature film, provided that they abode by the rules of his New World Pictures company. The list includes Coppola (Dementia 13), Scorsese (Boxcar Bertha), Bogdanovich (Targets), Dante (Piranha), Hellman (The Shooting), Demme (Caged Heat), among so many others.
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