Monday, January 10, 2011

Remembering Peter Yates

PETER YATES, the British filmmaker who passed away this weekend age 82, began his career as an assistant director in his native U.K., made a few films in Britain, and then made his American debut with "Bullitt."
I barely remember his "Mother, Jugs & Speed" from when I was a kid, but I can never forget what is arguably his best work, "BREAKING AWAY."
Screenwriter Steve Tesich took home an Oscar for the 1979 film, and Yates scored a Best Director nomination, for this film about a group of Bloomington, Ind., natives who compete against elitist racers from Indiana University in the school's annual Little 500 cycling race.
The natives adopt the label "Cutters," a derogatory term for residents of southern Indiana that refers to a history of stonecutting in quarries.

Dennis Christopher plays Dave Stoller, the cycling obsessive at the heart of the film.

If his legacy stands on nothing else, Yates at least made "Breaking Away," a film that certainly inspired me.


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