A look back at this day in film history
December 01
November 15, 1967
François Ozon born

Born in Paris in 1967, a year before the city was rocked by protests and revolution, François Ozon would continue that revolutionary spirit in a very different way. Interested in film from childhood, he was a voracious consumer of movies, a love that armed him well for getting his masters degree in cinema before moving on to FEMIS, France’s elite film school (where he came under the tutelage of Eric Rohmer). Immensely productive, Ozon made 14 short films, screened at festivals around the world, before two of his shorts––A Summer Dress and See the Sea––gained international attention. Ozon has gone on to be one of France’s talented and enigmatic auteurs. Shifting cinematic styles from film to film, he mix and matches elements of mystery (8 WomenSwimming Pool), musicals (8 WomenWater Drops on Burning Rocks), and melodrama (Criminal LoversUnder the Sand) and cinematic influences (Rohmer, Fassbinder, Buñuel, Hitchcock, Sirk). Like the figures of the French New Wave who were popular at the time of his birth, Ozon has re-fashioned the elements of classical cinema to fit his unique vision––fashionable, unexpected, and a little bit queer.

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December 1, 1935
Woody Allen Born

In 1935, Nettie and Martin Konigsberg welcomed their new son Allen Stewart into the world. Second generation German Jewish emigrants, the family moved from the lower East Side to Brooklyn where Nettie worked as a bookkeeper and Martin as an engraver and waiter.

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December 1, 1983
Scarface Returns

It was nippy New York City winter night when such stars as Melanie Griffith, Raquel Welch, Cher, Lucille Ball, and Eddie Murphy came out for the premiere of Scarface. Dedicated to Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks, Brian De Palma’s film updated those two men’s 1932 movie about a megalomaniacal Chicago gangster (aka Al Capone) into a nightmarish spin on the American dream as a Cuban exile rises to take over the illegal drug trade in Miami. Producer Martin Bregman had imagined the remake in early 1980 as star vehicle for Al Pacino. Bergman hired Oliver Stone (who was himself dealing with a cocaine addiction at the time) to write the script. When De Palma read it, he dropped out of directing Flashdance to take over the production. He wanted to rewrite the rules of noir with this film. Instead of the dark, rain-soaked streets of early gangster films, De Palma shot the violence under the bright, unapologetic South Florida sunshine––although in truth the film production took place in Los Angeles. When it came out, the film was not the runaway hit that everyone had hoped for. Critics were lukewarm, and box office was respectable but not boffo. Overtime, however, the film became a phenomenon all its own. Adopted by Latino and African-American youth as the patron saint of crime, Scarface became an icon. His catchphrases, like “say ‘elllo to my little friend,” graced t-shirts, bumper stickers, tennis shoes, cups and posters. His story was reincarnated in video games, rap lyrics and a short-lived TV show. His spirit continues to speak to generation after generation of outsiders looking in on the American dream from the ghetto or beyond the border. As Ken Tucker, the author of Scarface Nation puts it, “Scarface absorbs ridicule and overexposure and just keeps on going."

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