Remembering Anthony Minghella

Colin Vaines, Patrick Marber, Sam Taylor-Wood, Joe Wright, and Philip French eulogize Minghella in The Guardian. Philip French:

Anthony Minghella was one of our greatest filmmakers. When I first met him he looked like an elderly art student. Later, shorn of his beard, his disappearing hair cut to the skull, he came to resemble a cheerfully confident Buddhist monk.

Our first meeting was in Cannes in 1992, at a lunch given by Sam Goldwyn Jr for the out-of-competition screening of Minghella’s second movie, Mr Wonderful, a charming, lightweight romantic comedy set in New York’s blue-collar Italian-American milieu, which he understood well from his own background in Britain. I had admired his broadcasting writing, especially a BBC radio play called Cigarettes and Chocolate, in which Juliet Stevenson had appeared (as she did in his first movie Truly Madly Deeply), and thought his Made in Bangkok, an attack on the exploitation of the third world by European tourists, one of the best things to appear in the West End during the Eighties.

On a personal level, I was immediately struck by his charm, modesty and gifts as a conversationalist. At that time I thought him a talented miniaturist, part of the tradition David Lean had been criticising in a controversial speech at Cannes a few years before, when he took British film-makers to task for parochialism and lack of large-scale vision. When in 1996 I saw The English Patient, I realised Minghella was now carrying the torch for ambitious, visionary cinema that had once been upheld by Michael Powell and Lean.