Goodbye Sidney Lumet

“For everyone else, I’ll try to tell you as best I can how movies are made. It’s a complex technical and emotional process. It’s art. It’s commerce. It’s heartbreaking and it’s fun. It’s a great way to live.”

Indeed. That’s a quote from Sidney Lumet’s amazing book Making Movies. And that’s just from the introduction!

As you continue reading the book you discover a craftsman with the seemingly divine ability to balance the emotional needs of actors with the technical demands of filmmaking. Fueling that balancing act is passion:  for the people he works with and for the work.

We lost a great filmmaker today.

In all manner of tributes today, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, 12 Angry Men etc. will be recognized (rightfully) for their significance, value and weighty contribution to cinema. All great films and if you haven’t seen any of them, please stop reading and start watching.

It’s the other films he made that get lost in the shuffle:

Night Falls On Manhattan
Running on Empty (River Phoenix!!)
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Films like that where you clearly identify the calm confidence of a master, so rare in the films of today.

Thank you Mr. Lumet for all the adventures you provided. Your movies showed me your New York City, though flawed and raw it is a city I continue to love, embrace and accept. Much like you did. Thank you for caring deeply about the quality of your work.

Lastly thank you for making movies that debated and discussed justice, social issues and morality. Giving a strong voice to the conscience we so often work hard to silence.

Your work made me better and I remain grateful.


Also published on Medium.

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