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Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman

Award-winning filmmaker Philip Kaufman has previously explored the world of the first Americans in outer space in his epic The Right Stuff, the love story set against the Prague Spring of 1968 in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the erotic dalliance of Ana‘s Nin and Henry Miller in Henry and June and the new international corporate era of business as war in the detective thriller Rising Sun. Now he daringly imagines the final days of The Marquis de Sade, crafting a deliciously Gothic tale of sex, chills and the triumph of free expression.

Kaufman's many honors include both Writers Guild and Directors Guild Award nominations for his adaptation of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, a film that went on to win four Academy Awards∆. He also received a Writers Guild nomination and an Academy Award∆ nomination for his screenplay of Czech writer Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, for which he also won a BAFTA. Kaufman also received The National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director on the same film. In 1989, Kaufman was honored with the international Orson Welles Award for Best Filmmaker.

Kaufman grew up in Chicago and studied at the University of Chicago. After spending a year at Harvard Law School, he returned to the University of Chicago to begin a master's degree in history. Soon after, he became enthralled with the new wave of European filmmakers and switched gears entirely into cinema.

His very first feature, the mystical comedy Goldstein, won the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique at the Cannes Film Festival. Kaufman then turned his hand to a new-style western, writing and directing The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, starring Robert Duvall. He then directed the arctic adventure/love story "The White Dawn; and directed, and co-wrote with his wife Rose, the cult favorite The Wanderers. In 1978, he had his first major hit with a new take on the sci-fi thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Philip Kaufman has been equally lauded as a writer. He shared a co-story by credit with George Lucas for Raiders of the Lost Ark, and also wrote the much-admired screenplay for Clint Eastwood's now-classic Western, The Outlaw Josey Wales. He also co-wrote Rising Sun, based on the Michael Crichton bestseller, and was nominated for an Oscar∆ as a co-screenwriter with Jean-Claude Carriere for Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Phil Kaufman has been honored at the Sundance Film Festival, the Cambridge, England Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, the Wine Country Film Festival, and the Taos Talking Picture Festival, where he received the Howard Hawkes Storyteller Award. This year Mr. Kaufman will be honored with tributes at both the Institut Lumiere in France and the American Film Institute.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2002.

Philip Kaufman Facts

OccupationDirector
BirthdayOctober 23, 1936 (81... Happy Birthday!)
SignScorpio
BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

Selected Filmography

Hemingway & Gellhorn
The Right Stuff
The Wanderers
Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
Rising Sun
Quills
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