Parker, Alan

Parker, Alan
   b. 1944, London
   Film-maker
   Alan Parker began his career directing commercials such as the famous Joan Collins ‘Cinzano’ advertisements. In 1977 he made his first mainstream film, Bugsy Malone, a 1930s children’s gangster movie, after which he directed a range of films which have only their style in common: from Midnight Express (1978) through Fame, Angel Heart, The Wall, Mississippi Burning and Birdy to The Road to Wellville (1994) and Evita (1996). Parker has been accused of abandoning Britain for Hollywood in the 1980s but with The Commitments (1991) he made a praised and profitable film outside the USA. Parker has arguably been the most commercially successful British director over the last twenty years: a critic of British realism, he makes films that are technically impressive but often melodramatic and sensationalist. To general astonishment, in 1998 he became chairman of the BFI and was widely tipped to take over the Labour government’s new Film Council.
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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