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Raging Bull: Oscars


Raging Bull: Literary references
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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The first time that Jake sees her, she's associated, in a way, with water, and later on there's a wonderful scene where it's raining and he says, 'I saw her there first', and he finds out he's going to have throw a fight, and it's horribly sad, but he's standing in the... in the changing room that looks out onto that same... that same swimming pool – the neighborhood swimming pool. But the first time he sees her it begins with a shot of kids diving off the side of the building and down into the pool, and I kept thinking, this is like the Max Beerbohm novel Zuleika Dobson, where... I don't know if this makes any sense to anybody or not... where these students at Oxford keep committing suicide for... because they're so madly in love with Zuleika Dobson, and it is like that; it's like they're throwing themselves into the pool, and as a kind of way of opening up and showing this women who is... you know, who is the whatever – the Medusa or whatever you want to say – of his life, and that is... now, I don't know whether that is just self-consciously literary on my part or whether... it certainly at least is that... whether I was the only one who made that association, I don't know, but to me it is... it was always there: that they are... the students of Oxford committing suicide for Zuleika Dobson as they throw themselves down to the pool; and in some curious way she's associated with water all the way through, you know – there's the scenes of her kicking her legs like that in slow motion and the water's dripping off them, and then later on he's having terrible trouble and fights with her and he's standing in the rain, and Joey comes and says... tells him he's got to throw the fight and everything, and all the way through, in some curious way, she's associated with water. It is... it's hardly an innocent movie – it's full of all sorts of references to other movies, to literature, to... to God knows what, to... to Jake's home movies. It's... it's a very self-conscious movie, but I forgive it that... that self-conscious... it seems to me it sort of works in that case.

Michael Chapman (1935-2020), an American cinematographer, had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: Zuleika Dobson, Oxford, Max Beerbohm

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008