Aspen Movie to pay tribute to cinema pioneer Bob Rafelson

Bob Rafelson in his Fort Creek Valley residence in 2004.
Aspen Instances file photograph

The transformative filmmaker Bob Rafelson’s storied profession took him everywhere in the globe, however his Fort Creek residence and Aspen had been his residence base for greater than 40 years.

So, it’s no surprise Aspen Movie and Rafelson had a connection till he died from lung most cancers July 23 at his residence on the age of 89.

The group can pay tribute to him with a free screening of his 1981 remake of “The Postman Always Rings Twice” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, on the Wheeler Opera Home. The tribute is a part of he forty third annual Filmfest staged by Aspen Movie.


“I wanted the screening of ‘Postman’ to be free as a way of saying thanks to all those who interacted with Bob at the local markets, restaurants, pharmacy, library and shops,” stated his widow, Gabrielle Taurek, in an e mail. “They are the people that made this town into a home for Bob.” 

Bob Rafelson/File photograph

Rafelson’s remake of the 1946 “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” an adaption of the James M. Cain’s 1934 hardboiled crime novel, starred Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson, who used to stay part-time in Aspen. “Postman” met combined opinions and far pearl clutching over its steamy intercourse scenes with Lange and Nicholson, after its 1981 launch. The movie was shot in Santa Barbara, California.

“Bob was pleased with ‘Postman’ — stylistically, as well as with the great performances he pulled out of Jack and Jessica,” Taurek stated. “He labored exhausting on that movie. At one level, he sat for a 24-hour interval on the spot close to the fuel station/restaurant to be able to hold meticulous observe of the place the sunbeams and moonbeams would hit and at what time, so he may plan the pictures accordingly. I additionally suppose it toiled with themes Bob investigated in most of his movies — just like the complexities of affection, and the way darkish and tender it might probably really feel on the similar second.


“Bob didn’t like to observe his movies once more as soon as they had been completed, however I can inform you I believe he would’ve thought it stood the check of time, besides possibly that it was 10 minutes too lengthy. “

Jack Nicholson with co-star Jessica Lange and director Bob Rafelson throughout a press convention for the movie ‘The Postman At all times Rings Twice,” Cannes movie pageant, Cannes, France, 1981. Picture by Philippe Le Tellier/Getty Photos

Rafelson’s some 40-year relationship with Aspen Movie began when he was launched to its founder, Ellen Kohner Hunt. Their assembly “sparked a long-lasting friendship,” Taurek stated.


“Bob was on their advisory committee for many years, and both Ellen and Laura Theilen (former executive director) consulted with him on festival issues even though he tried to keep his Hollywood persona out of Aspen,” she stated.

Aspen Movie honored Rafelson with its Unbiased by Nature award in 1999 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the 40-year anniversary of the nonprofit group. Taurek went into labor the identical night Rafelson was receiving the Unbiased by Nature award.


“It took Aspen Film several years of convincing before Bob allowed them to honor him with their first Independent by Nature award in ’99, which happened to be the same night I went into labor with our first son, EO,” she stated. “Bob’s high regard for what Aspen Film was doing and how it contributed to this community continued with Susan Wrubel’s appointment as executive director. Bob was a great proponent of independent films and felt Aspen Film helped to bring those kinds of movies here to a wider audience.”

Wrubel turned was named govt director of Aspen Movie in September 2017.

Rafelson’s physique of labor within the roles of director, screenwriter and producer, or all three without delay, contains “Easy Rider” from 1969, “Five Easy Pieces” from 1970, “The Last Picture Show” from 1971 and “The King of Marvin Gardens” from 1972. He additionally made films within the ’80s, ’90s and into 2002, and helped create “The Monkeys” sitcom that ran for 2 seasons on NBC within the late Nineteen Sixties. He made six films with Nicholson, and he was thought-about a pioneer within the New Hollywood motion.

“Rafelson helped transform American independent cinema with his style and approach to filmmaking,” Aspen Movie’s web site stated after his dying, noting that “Bob truly exemplified Aspen Film’s ‘Independent by Nature’ motto. Keeping the Isis Theatre open in Aspen as a place to foster that spirit for this community was also very important to Bob. Bob, you and your work will never be forgotten — thank you for being such a friend to and supporter of Aspen Film and to this community. Your contributions are immeasurable.”

Rafelson additionally would communicate up when he noticed issues occurring in Aspen he didn’t like.

“Bob fell in love with Aspen the moment he arrived in the ’60s for the obvious reasons — he was an avid hiker, dedicated cross-country skier and appreciated the amount of arts and culture this small town offered,” Taurek stated. “But, he was not one to sit silently, ever, if something irked him. He cared when the lights were left on in empty buildings because it distracted from the beauty of the nighttime sky. He worried about the noise and over-population that giant jets might bring to this valley. What pushed his buttons, you ask? Actions without deep consideration to its adverse effects on the extraordinary nature of this place.”

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