Goodbye Arthur Penn

Arthur Penn dies at 88 years old (NYtimes)

He advised Senator John F. Kennedy during his watershed television debates with Richard M. Nixon in 1960 (and directed the broadcast of the third debate). Mr. Penn’s instructions to Kennedy — to look directly into the lens of the camera and keep his responses brief and pithy — helped give the candidate an aura of confidence and calm that created a vivid contrast to his more experienced but less telegenic Republican rival.
But it was as a film director that Mr. Penn left his mark on American culture, most indelibly with “Bonnie and Clyde.”
“Arthur Penn brought the sensibility of ’60s European art films to American movies,” the writer-director Paul Schrader said. “He paved the way for the new generation of American directors who came out of film schools.”

Arthur Penn gave great interviews.arthurnpenninterviews
1. Arthur gave a vivid account of the history of Black Mountain College, his life with Bucky Fuller, John Cage, Merce, Ray Johnson, Willem de Kooning and many others.
2. Brooklyn Rail (RADICAL REFLECTIONS Arthur Penn, In Conversation with Gregory Zucker and Robert White)
3. Long interviews on youtube

Arthur arthurnpenn2


Mr. Penn directed his first film, “The Left-Handed Gun,” for Warner Brothers. Based on a Gore Vidal television play adapted by Leslie Stevens, the project was an extension of the “Playhouse 90” aesthetic: a low-budget, black-and-white western about a troubled, inarticulate young man (Paul Newman, in a performance stamped with Actors Studio technique) who happened to be Billy the Kid.

Water and Breakfast scene from The Miracle Worker

Little Big Man (Am I still in this world?)

Hie brother Irving Penn passed away October last year. (See his great portraits here)

A watchmaker’s son, Penn struggled to learn his father’s trade, who died before seeing any of his films.
“He went to his grave despairing I would never find my way in the world,” the director one said, “and the movies rescued me.”(BBC)

Update: Arthur Penn a Director Attuned to His Country