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Anderson ... Take Two

Documentary on British filmmaker screens at Flicks

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A decade after his death in 1994, British filmmaker Lindsay Anderson was the celebrated subject of a one-man tribute written by his longtime friends actor Malcolm McDowell and producer Michael Kaplan. The former staged the show at several film festivals and the latter made it into a film called Never Apologize.

Sound familiar? It should. In January, Kaplan, who lives in Caldwell, set up a premiere at The Egyptian Theatre, after which McDowell was scheduled to speak. And then CoCo Chanel called. McDowell had been scheduled to film a miniseries with Shirley MacLaine about the famed French fashion icon and designer, and when the dates firmed up, he was forced to cancel his Boise appearance.

This week, Never Apologize has its first commercial engagement in the United States—in Boise. Kaplan said he's discussing U.S. distribution with "a very good company," but wanted to get some energy behind the film before a nationwide release.

"It'll be interesting to see what happens here," said Kaplan. "It does have a profile here because of what happened [in January], but it doesn't have any national attention because it hasn't opened anywhere else." Kaplan hopes that Boise audiences—who are getting a sneak peek at a film that, so far, has only played the film festival circuit—will respond well and provide a positive litmus for what distributors could expect to see on a national level. In all, Never Apologize has played a dozen film festivals around the world, most recently at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival earlier this month, and in Hong Kong in March.

For the first weekend of screenings in Boise, as well as several thereafter, Kaplan will speak after the film. McDowell isn't scheduled to be present at this round of screenings, but as the only star in the almost two-hour film, he's certainly a robust presence. McDowell is known for his chilling role in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, but it was Anderson who discovered him for the 1968 film If ...

For Never Apologize, Kaplan and McDowell cherry picked some of their most poignant memories of Anderson, creating a narrative of his life and his work into a portrait of the filmmaker that's as celebratory in tone as it is somberly emotive. On film, McDowell's stage time is punctuated by some 200 visuals, including archival footage and photographs of Anderson and those who feature in the telling of his life.

"I think it's fair to say there isn't anything quite like it," Kaplan told BW in January. And for now, only Boise will be able to put that statement to the test.

Never Apologize opens at The Flicks April 25. See page 32 for times.