I’ve just come back from the Hot Docs press conference and learned that Anthony Minghella has died. This breaks my heart a little bit.
Minghella made one of the finest romances of the 1990s — and no, I don’t mean “The English Patient”, though that was an entirely decent picture. I’m talking about “Truly Madly Deeply”, a piercing little drama about grief, loss and self-sacrifice that grows only more powerful with multiple viewings.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Minghella twice, when he came to Toronto on the promotional tours for “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain”. And “pleasure” is the operative word; he was a genuine, generous man who seemed to really enjoy trading theories about what his films meant, and whether he’d succeeded in getting his ideas through the screen. And he had a terrific laugh.
He appears, very briefly, as a television interviewer at the end of “Atonement”; it’s director Joe Wright’s attempt to imply an endorsement of his wholesale appropriation of the grandeur of Minghella’s “The English Patient”. Whether that was Minghella’s intention, I can’t say; I’d hoped to ask him about it at the London film festival last year — I knew he’d give me an honest answer — but our paths never quite crossed.
Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it.
If you haven’t seen “Truly Madly Deeply”, find it and watch it tonight. I can almost guarantee you have nothing better to do.