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Damien Chazelle pays tribute to ‘fearless’ director William Friedkin

World premiere of 'Babylon'
Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle has heaped praise on the late director William Friedkin.

The Whiplash director, 38, made a moving speech at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday where Friedkin’s last film, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, premiered out-of-competition weeks after its director’s death.

“When I first became aware of the name Billy Friedkin I was a child, and the name itself filled me with fear,” Chazelle, who is presiding over this year’s Venice jury, told the audience.

“I probably had The Exorcist in my mind. I hadn’t seen the film yet, but I’d seen the letters written in that typeface, and the sound of the word ‘Fried-kin’ seemed to suggest to me the darkest, most forbidden recesses of the imagination. The kind of things that inspire nightmares for the rest of your life.”

Chazelle continued, “So to me, William Friedkin meant fear. But today I think of his name, and I think of love. I think of the love of cinema, love of all art, and a vision of how the arts can intersect and inform each other.”

The La La Land director referred to Friedkin as “so welcoming, so sweet” yet “fearless in every sense of the word” when it came to his work.

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, which stars Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Clarke, will be released via Paramount+ in the coming months.

Friedkin died from heart failure and pneumonia on 7 August aged 87.

– Cover Media