He states many times that he hates to be called an “artist”, leaving this title to the likes of Fellini, Antonioni and Fritz Lang (who he interviewed and it’s one of the funniest bits of the doc). You probably will never see a director taking the aura of myth from his work like William Friedkin does in this documentary directed by Francesco Zippel who, after being his assistant on the doc “The Devil and Father Amorth”, decided to build this enjoyable and entertaining conversation with a director who contributed to redefine horror movies.
Friedkin approached cinema by chance but his first documentary “The People Vs. Paul Crump” (1962) was pivotal in re-opening a controversial case of an innocent man on the death row. His filmography in the 70s is marked by two huge successes, the “cop movie” (as he calls it) “The French Connection” which won five Academy Awards, including Best Movie and Best Director and the huge success of “The Exorcist” which scared to death people in all the world and helped to change the perspective on horror from a gory material for B-movies to the possibility to explore the darkest side of human being.
The documentary also focuses on its most unfortunate projects like the road movie “Sorcerer” (1978) which was a commercial flop and the controversial “Cruising” (1980) which caused the anger of the gay community in the United States. Friedkin never poses like an author, always claiming his origins as a documentarist and investigator, showing an uncompromising approach to his projects and the deepest love for all of them.
The list of contributors is amazing from Francis Ford Coppola to Quentin Tarantino, from Willem Dafoe to Ellen Burstyn, all interested in being part of this documentary as said by Director Francesco Zippel, all managing to find a moment to be interviewed across their busy schedules (Matthew McConaughey remembers how “Killer Joe” managed to save him from boring rom-coms and deliver him the role in “True Detective”). Even Zubin Mehta and Gianandrea Noseda give an interesting insight on his career as stage directors of operas.
“Friedkin Uncut” leaves the audience with the pleasant sensation of a lovely conversation with an old friend who amuses you with funny and interesting stories.