When you think of William Friedkin, you think of The Exorcist. This singular thought has possessed much of his rep like an erroneous wraith. But that devilishly good chiller from 1973 is the exception to his rule, the rule being that darkness comes from within, not some satanic squatter. From the late sixties to the present, Friedkin has delved into the dark matter that dwells in the human soul, from the ill behavior of boys bashing boys in The Boys in the Band to the deadly but kinky incantations of Killer Joe. But in Friedkin’s most compelling cautionary tales like The French Connection, Cruising, and To Live and Die in L.A., good intentions breed bad results. This unholy trinity of policiers features righteous defenders of right, led by the inimitable Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman), who dive into their own dark sides, only to find violence, chaos, and obsession lingering in the complicated corners. Friedkin’s tribute to The Wages of Fear, the overlooked Sorcerer strips away all civil pretense from his desperate antiheroes, Roy Scheider and cohorts. Centered on a set piece with a rickety bridge suspended above a swollen river, the first thing that is washed away is the social contract. Daring and sometimes diabolical, William Friedkin has ingeniously illuminated our darkest matters. On the occasion of his newly published autobiography, The Friedkin Connection, we invite you to look into the light.
We are pleased to welcome William Friedkin for a book signing on September 21 and an Afterimage conversation with film critic Michael Guillen, following a screening of Sorcerer, on September 19. After a lifetime of looking lustily at cinema, Michael Guillen launched The Evening Class, a film-centric blog. His knowledgeable and unreserved prose has graced numerous publications, including Film International, MovieScope, Fandor, MUBI, GreenCine, and Twitch.
Steve Seid, Video Curator