Douglas Trumbull, the lost illusionist, dies – Libération


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Recognized as the greatest special effects director in cinema since his participation in “2001, the Space Odyssey” and “Star Trek”, the American died on Tuesday at the age of 79.

He had the future in his sights, perpetually. The imaginary one of science fiction, whose deployment in the cinema he influenced like no other, by his colossal work on 2001 and Blade Runner ; but also that, technical and very real, of the image and what it can for art, immersion, stories, imagination. Douglas Trumbull, director, researcher, rigger, essential craftsman of American cinema who has just died at the age of 79, had made only two feature films of cinema, and no masterpieces. Yet he was an artist in the full sense of the word, his pictorial genius, his essential engineering and his deep faith in the power of the image only relegated to the background by the belief of our culture in the gesture of the director, the ultimate and all-powerful author.

Let’s think of a sequence from one of the ten films that benefit from its exceptional special effects: the discovery of the Enterprise in film Star Trek, directed by veteran Robert Wise in 1979, in which Captain Kirk, however corny by a decade of untimely reruns on TV, was returning by shuttle to his spaceship to celebrate his arrival on movie screens. Speechless, purely contemplative, the ride is a pretext for a superb space travel, at the snail’s pace, illuminated by the bluish glow of the earth below; aesthetically beautiful, the sequence is also a call…

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