Sidney Lumet and his classics

 Anybody who has seen the great American films and has a genuine inclination towards watching quality films is probably familiar with the name of Sidney Lumet. He was an American director, producer, and screenwriter of the Golden era of Hollywood. The films of Sidney Lumet enormously entertained film-goers and brimmed with a style which was remarkably his own. In the sense that he was the filmmaker who stood for idealism in cinema & communicated this consistently through his work. Encyclopedia of Hollywood states that he was one of the most-prolific directors of cinema, making more than one films a year. This was one of the remarkable aspects of Sidney Lumet, that he was able to work fast and under a controlled budget which made him extremely popular among the film professionals. Almost all of Lumet’s movies display his trademark characteristics of expert storytelling, innovative direction of actors and the social realism with which his movies resonated all the time. If you have watched the well-known films by Sidney Lumet, it is apparent that that they are mainly about isolated ordinary individuals and the conflict between love and reason will eventually prevail. He was a master of dividing his work in two categories; first being the idealistic problem pictures which talked about problems present in the society, and second the adaptation of plays and novels, as he himself came from a theatre background. Lumet was also one of those early directors who made a successful transition from TV to films and continued to find success in Hollywood. Often called as a true master of his craft, Sidney is fondly remembered by film aficionados all over the world.

This Sunday, Enlighten Film Society hosted a special screening of three of Sidney Lumet‘s best films. They showed 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and Network and it was a great cinematic experience to watch one of cinema’s most-celebrated director’s work. These three films have found its way in our popular culture and are often enthusiastically talked about by film-lovers and film students alike. On the occasion of the Sidney Lumets retrospective held this Sunday, it is the  perfect opportunity to go back and visit this timeless classics.

 
12 Angry Men:
 
 
The film which marked Sidney Lumet’s transition from TV to movies, it is an extremely gripping drama of justice, truth and morality. Constantly cited as a film which pioneered the craft of shooting the whole film in one room, (there are only three minutes of the footage outside the jury room of the 96-minutes of the movie) this is a story where 12 men debate over a case so that they can establish its truth. Soon, the debate turns into a very stormy argument and all men realize the truth about their own values and judgments. Truly a classic.
 
Dog Day Afternoon:
 
 
One of those early movies which established Al Pacino as a star, Dog Day Afternoon remains a classic among the films Sidney Lumet directed. A bank robbery planned or rather unplanned by a social misfit for the reason that he needs money for his lover’s sex change operation, who is a preoperative transgender. This film cemented Sidney Lumet’s strong command over social realism and his innovative storytelling. Usually bank robbery are classified as thrillers, but this film dealt it with a sort of a realistic yet comic touch. The film also starkly addressed the politically radical atmosphere prevalent in America in the ’70s.
 
Network:
 
 
A brilliant satire of the American TV industry, this was a sharp comment on media business in Sidney Lumet style. Network received extremely high praise when it released and went on to become one of the biggest hits of that year. The movie focuses on a news channel which is preoccupied with keeping its ratings high and how this obsession plays havoc with people keeping the energetic drama alive throughout the film. Written by the three-time Academy award-winner Paddy Chayefsky, this film serves as a brilliant commentary on the place of media in contemporary times. A classic example of satirical drama at its best, Network is another achievement of Sidney Lumet.
 
Enlighten Film Society shall next screen the films of another great Russian master, Andrei Tarkovsky. He is one of the true greats of all time and frequently cited as unequaled when it comes to expressing beauty through the sheer power of cinema.
 

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