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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

No Subtitles Necessary, (2009, ***)

Vilmos Zsigmond

James ChressanthisNo Subtitles Necessary premieres Tuesday night on PBS’ “Independent Lens” series: it’s an anecdote-rich documentary about lifelong friends, cinematographic greats Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, from their youthful escape from Hungary in 1956 with footage of the Russian invasion of Budapest to the glory days of Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s and into their mature careers. One hopes there’s hours more teachable material in the unused material; there’s always more to hear about movies like Deliverance. Five Easy Pieces, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Paper Moon, Close Encounters and Deliverance. Conversations with (and between) Kovacs and Zsigmond are the beating heart of this assemblage, and there’s enthusiastic testimony from directors Bob Rafelson, Dennis Hopper, Peter Bogdanovich, John Boorman, Richard Donner, William Richert, Mark Rydell, composer John Williams and actors including Sharon Stone, Jon Voight, Peter Fonda, Sandra Bullock and Karen Black. Not the most neatly structured of films, No Subtitles Necessary‘s highlights include clips from the Budapest footage, early no-budget productions and a general feeling that deep feeling is conducive to great work. Kovacs died in 2007, which is noted in the film. [Photo of Vilmos Zsigmond by Ray Pride.]

A background is provided for photographing James Chressanthis, Vilmos Zsigmond and Despina Mouzaki at the 11th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, March 2009.

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