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Novel Thoughts: A conversation with author Davide Caputo
Trevor Hogg chats with author Davide Caputo about the importance of Roman Polanski as a filmmaker...

'“I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada as an Italian-Canadian dual national,” states Davide Caputo, the writer responsible for Polanski and Perception: The Psychology of Seeing and the Cinema of Roman Polanski. “After high school I studied a year of sciences at university with an eye towards medical school, but in the second year I switched to Psychology which I found far more interesting than Chemistry. I was especially interested in Behaviourism back then, as it seemed to demystify Psychology with its rational approach to the study of human and other animal activity.” Movies became part of the academic studies for the undergraduate student. “I had always been a fan of cinema, and in my third year some friends and I became involved with the Winnipeg Film Group, which Guy Maddin was making quite respectable at the time with films like Tales from Gimli Hospital [1989] and Careful [1992]. I decided to switch to a ‘double major’ in Psychology and Film and got to know Professor George Toles, Maddin’s collaborator, who was lecturing at the University of Manitoba.” In an effort to payoff his student loan debt, the graduate taught English in Italy, and ended up working in the UK and Switzerland earning a steady paycheque in the aeronautics industry; the love for cinema would lead him back to the UK to study film at Exeter where he did his Master’s and PhD. Reflecting on what movies left an indelible mark upon him, Caputo remarks, “As a teenager, a friend of mine turned me on to Woody Allen [Midnight in Paris], whose films I quickly became obsessed with and which provide their own cinema education through the multitude of film references they contain. In my undergrad course, I was exposed to the [neo] high modernist cinema of the 1960s [Bergman, Fellini, and Antonioni] which gave me a sense of the ‘worthiness’ of this field of study. I’m not sure this qualifies as a ‘movement’, but I’m sure like many others in their early twenties films like 8 ½ [1963] and Persona [1966] blew me away; I’ve spent the last two decades coming to grips with them. Kubrick [2001: A Space Odyssey] was another major name for me at the time, and continues to be, so in most respects I was a typical cinephile ‘fan boy’ [and still am].”'

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