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December 09, 2011


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One of Adair's best lines from 'Flickers' -- regarding Oliver Stone, but applicable to all-too-many other directors -- "[It's] as if, since the heart is in the right place, it doesn't matter where the camera is."


Haven't read any Adair, but loved the film version of LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND.


Loved FLICKERS, but I'd also like to put in a good word for his translation of Ciment's Boorman book, which is hard to find but amazing. Also, I quite liked THE HOLY INNOCENTS (the first version, not the post-DREAMERS revise, which I haven't read) years ago, when I first read it. (I didn't even realize who Adair was at the time; I just liked the description on the back of the book.)

Jonathan Rosenbaum

During the latter part of my five years in Paris and the beginning of my stint in London, roughly between 1972 and 1976, Gilbert was one of my closest friends; in Paris I used to see him at least a couple of times each week, not even counting the Cinematheque screenings that we both attended. I even read, in manuscript, "The Rape of the Cock" (not "Clock," as Faber and Faber's blushing back-cover copywriter or copyeditor had it). As far as I know, this was the first of his major pastiches, and one that I don't believe he ever published. And in fact, during most of those years, Gilbert hadn't published anything at all. A veritable dandy--he lived in a Left Bank hotel on the Seine during most of this period, where he systematically discarded all of his books after reading them EXCEPT FOR those by Cocteau--and certainly a very brilliant one....Years later, it was largely thanks to him that I became friends with Raul Ruiz, a soul brother of Gilbert's in many crucial respects. What a sad irony that both of them should die prematurely, only about a year apart.


One of my favorite film books, Flickers; sorry to hear about his passing.

David Ehrenstein

Gilbert was a friend and colleague once upon a time. I met him though my dear friend Meredith Brody, to whom "Love and Death on Long Island" is dedicated. It's a lovely book and the movie is truly super with John Hurt at his very, very best (I treasure the scene where having found himself in a multi-plex theater playing "Hot Pants College: II" instead of "A Room with a View" rises from his seat indignantly and yells "This isn't E.M. Forster!" )

When he turned 50 Gilbert made the Big Announcement that he wasn't gay anymore. Considering the legions of Tadzios he'd left in his wake one sensed he no longer had what it took to book a room at the Hotel des Bains. Consequently his screenplay adaptation of his novel "The Holy Innocents" for Bernardo Bertolucci, "The Dreamers," de-gayed the action, resulting in the fact that Louis Garrel doesn't get it on with Michael Pitt.

A cinematic crime of the first order!

As to Gilbert's degaying word got back some time lafter the Big Announcement that (as is always the case) it "didn't take."

Ah well. Just watching "Barry Lyndon" on the tube: "They Are All Equal Now."

Or soon will be.

Adieu Gilbert.

Paul Duane

And all of the above, without touching on his witty postmodern dissections of Agatha Christie novels - A Mysterious Affair of Style, And Then There Was No One, etc. A remarkable man.

David Ehrenstein




So pleased to see that my public library, which can often be disappointing, has a copy of "Flickers" that I've just put on hold to borrow. Thanks for the recommendation, I'm sure it will be lovely Christmastime reading.

david hare

For those wishing to hear Adair in full flower he does a fabulous commentary track on the Criterion of Les Enfants Terribles.
No one better to talk about it and Cocteau, and I deeply regret Berto made such a hash of Adair's Cocteauian concepts for The Dreamers. Even Re-Gaying probably wouldnt have helped Berto's absolutely sloppy mise en scene. Most egregious moment - showing the clip of Mouchette rolling down the river bank in the wrong fucking aspect ratio!!
Eva Green's line readings in the movie also might have been better rendered in a Lina Lamont voice.

David Ehrenstein

Well at least Chrtophe Honore knows how to show Louis off for the boys in the backroom



Joel Bocko

Found used on Amazon, and purchased. Slightly steep but sounds like it will be worth the investment. Too bad the recommendation arrived in this context, but appreciated nonetheless.

Tom Charity

Flickers is a marvellous book, I reviewed it for Time Out London so enthusiastically that someone promptly swiped my copy. To this day I feel the hole in my bookshelf. I note in passing that the author of another of my favourite books about film died just six months ago, Theodore Roszak. And the book: Flicker. I can almost see the two of them playing chess on that stairway to heaven...

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