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Alex Cox (1954 - )

Related: Moviedrome (tv programme) - director - British cinema

Repo Man (1984) - Alex Cox
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Cult film par excellence, Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s -- just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s. With a soundtrack that features Iggy Pop, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks.


Alex Cox (b. 15 December 1954) is a British film director and sometimes actor, well known for his eccentric style of filmmaking. Author of a number of screenplays, he has also written on film for Sight and Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, and Film Comment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Cox [Mar 2005]


Alex Cox is very simply a cult-film phenomenon. He represents that rare breed of filmmaker whose love of underground, off-centre cinema has allowed him to transcend the barriers between making films and film appreciation.

Following his offbeat debut Repo Man (1984), Cox's punk credentials were further displayed in the biopic Sid and Nancy (1985). Arguably, it was his fiercely independent punk spirit (and political leanings) that led him to be increasingly shunned by mainstream Hollywood (most famously in the case of his displacement from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). However, he has responded to such studio tactics by increasingly embracing European filmmaking culture and funding as a way of making movies beyond the Hollywood machine. This has resulted in the proliferation of a diverse number of productions including the Spanish based Highway Patrolman (1992) and the more recent Dutch funded Three Businessmen (1998).

While best known internationally for his offbeat and quirky productions, Cox is also fondly remembered in Britain as the host of BBC TV's influential film show Moviedrome. The series introduced eager audiences to American underground classics and European oddities and effectively inspired a generation of would be movie critics and fledgling academics to endorse a love of trash and cult cinema.

In the following interview, Alex Cox discusses not only his films and cinematic influences, but also the relationship between film theory and production as well as possible alternatives to the mainstream Hollywood machine.
- Xavier Mendik, http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/03/24/cox.html


    Repo Man (1984) - Alex Cox
    [FR] [DE] [UK] A volatile, toxic potion of satire and nihilism, road movie and science fiction, violence and comedy, the unclassifiable sensibility of Alex Cox's Repo Man is the model and inspiration for a potent strain of post-punk American comedy that includes not only Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), but also early Coen brothers (Raising Arizona, in particular), Men in Black, and even (in a weird way) The X-Files. Otto, a baby-face punk played by Emilio Estevez, becomes an apprentice to Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), a coke-snorting, veteran repo-man-of-honor prowling the streets of a Los Angeles wasteland populated by hoods, wackos, burnouts, conspiracy theorists, and aliens of every stripe. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but there's a "latticework of coincidence" (as Tracey Walter puts it) underlying everything. Repo Man is a key American movie of the 1980s--just as Taxi Driver, Nashville, and Chinatown are key American movies of the '70s. With a scorching soundtrack that features Iggy Pop, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, --Jim Emerson

  1. Sid & Nancy (1986) - Alex Cox [Amazon US]

    Sid and Nancy is a movie directed by Alex Cox and released in 1986 . Originally titled Love Kills, Sid and Nancy emerged during a period of renewed fascination in the life of the Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious, and stars Gary Oldman as Sid and Chloe Webb as his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

    The movie is largely based on the mutually destructive, drug and sex filled relationship between Sid and his girlfriend. Anne Beverly, Sid's mother, tried to prevent having the movie made, but Alex Cox was very insistent. She met with him and she decided to help out in the making of the movie.

    Gary Oldman slimmed down to play the extremely lanky Sid, and soon bore such an uncanny resemblance to Sid that he even got to wear Sid's trademark heavy metal chain and padlock in the movie. Malcolm Butt, in his book Sid Vicious: Rock N' Roll Star, described Webb's performance as Nancy as "intense, powerful, and most important of all, believable." Courtney Love narrowly missed out on the role and was cast instead in a minor part as a friend of Nancy's called Gretchen. Cox was impressed by Courtney Love's audition and cast her as the lead in his movie Straight to Hell, alongside Joe Strummer.

    Alex Cox told the New Musical Express: "We wanted to make the film not just about Sid Vicious and punk, but as an anti-drugs statement, to show the degradation caused to various people is not at all glamorous."

    The film was widely hailed by critics, but strongly condemned by Sid's friend and ex-colleague, John Lydon.

    US Rating: R, for drug use, language, violence, sexuality and nudity. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_and_Nancy [Apr 2005]

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