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  3. X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker: Alex Cox: I.B. Tauris
  4. “Straight to Hell”: In 1986, Joe Strummer paired with the Pogues on Alex Cox’s paella western

Michael Nesmith agreed to produce Repo Man , and convinced Universal Studios to back the project with a budget of over a million dollars.

During the course of the film's production, the studio's management changed, and the new management had far less faith in the project. The initial cinema release was limited to Chicago, followed by Los Angeles, and was short-lived. After the success of the soundtrack album notable for featuring many popular LA punk bands , there was enough interest in the film to earn a re-release in a single cinema in New York City, but only after becoming available on video and cable.

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Continuing his fascination with punk music , Cox's next film was an independent feature shot in London and Los Angeles, following the career and death of bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen , initially titled Love Kills and later renamed Sid and Nancy. It was met warmly by critics and fans, though heavily criticised by some, including Pistols' frontman John Lydon , for its inaccuracies.

The production of this film also sparked a relationship with Joe Strummer of the Clash , who would continue to collaborate with the director on his next two films. The following year, he hoped to shoot a concert film there featuring the Clash , the Pogues and Elvis Costello.

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When he could not get backing, he decided instead to write a film that they would all act in. The film became Straight to Hell. Straight to Hell was widely panned critically, but successful in Japan and retains a cult following. Continuing his interest in Nicaragua, Cox took on a more overtly political project, with the intention of filming it there.

He asked Rudy Wurlitzer to pen the screenplay, which followed the life of William Walker , set against a backdrop of anachronisms that drew parallels between the story and modern American intervention in the area.

When Walker failed to perform at the box office, it ended the director's involvement with Hollywood studios, and led to a period of several years in which Cox would not direct a single film. Despite this, Cox and some critics maintain that it is his best film.


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Following the commercial failure of Walker , Alex Cox struggled to find feature work. Effectively blacklisted for working on a studio project during the Writers Guild of America strike , he finally got financial backing for a feature from investors in Japan, where his films had been successful on video. Cox had scouted locations in Mexico during the pre-production of Walker and decided he wanted to shoot a film there, with a local cast and crew, in Spanish.

Producer Lorenzo O'Brien penned the script. Inspired by the style of Mexican directors including Arturo Ripstein , he shot most of the film in plano secuencia ; long, continuous takes shot with a hand-held camera. El Patrullero was completed and released in , but struggled to find its way into cinemas.

He chose Death and the Compass. Despite being a British production and an English language film, he convinced his producers to let him shoot in Mexico City. This film , like his previous Mexican production, made extensive use of long-takes.

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The completed minute film aired on the BBC in Cox had hoped to expand this into a feature-length film, but the BBC was uninterested. To secure funds, Cox directed a "work for hire" project called The Winner. The film was edited extensively without Cox's knowledge, and he had his name removed from the credits as a result, but the money was enough for Cox to fund the completion of Death and the Compass.

The finished, minute feature received a limited cinema release in the US, where the TV version had not aired, in Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker: Alex Cox: I.B. Tauris

After creative disagreements with the producer and Thompson, he was sacked from the project, and his script rewritten when Terry Gilliam took over the film. Cox later sued successfully for a writing credit, as it was ruled that there were enough similarities between the drafts to suggest that Gilliam's was derivative of Cox's.

Gilliam countered that the screenplays were based on the source book and similarities between them were a consequence of this. Three Businessmen. The story follows businessmen in Liverpool who leave their hotel in search of food and slowly drift further from their starting point, all the while believing they are still in Liverpool. Following this, Cox moved back to Liverpool and became interested in creating films there. Cox had long been interested in the Jacobean play, The Revenger's Tragedy , and upon moving back to Britain , decided to pursue adapting it to a film.

Collaborating with fellow Liverpudlian screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce , the story was recast in the near future, following an unseen war. This adaptation, titled Revengers Tragedy , consisted primarily of the original play's dialogue, with some additional bits written in a more modern tone. The film is also notable for its soundtrack, composed by Chumbawamba.

The minute film satirised reality television as well as the high volume of petty crime in Liverpool which, according to Cox, is largely recreational. In , Alex Cox tried to get funding for a series of eight very low budget features set in Liverpool and produced by locals. He had originally hoped to shoot Repo Man on a comparable budget, and hoped that the lower overhead would mean greater creative freedom.

Searchers 2. A road movie and a revenge story, it tells of two actors, loosely based on and played by Del Zamora and Ed Pansullo, who travel from Los Angeles to a desert film screening in Monument Valley in the hopes of avenging abuse inflicted on them by a cruel screenwriter, Fritz Frobisher Sy Richardson. Although the film was unable to achieve a cinema release in America or Europe, Cox claimed the experience of making a film with a smaller crew and less restrictions was energising. Alex Cox had attempted to get a Repo Man sequel, titled Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday , produced in the mid-'90s, but the project fell apart, with the script adapted into a graphic novel of the same name.

Repo Chick was filmed entirely against a green screen, with backgrounds of digital composites, live action shots, and miniatures matted in afterwards, to produce an artificial look. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival on 9 September As of July [update] , Cox was teaching film production and screenwriting at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald leading up to Kennedy's assassination, with reference to the various conspiracy theories. In Cox directed another crowdfunded film, Tombstone Rashomon , which tells the tale of the Gunfight at the O. Corral from multiple perspectives in the style of Akira Kurosawa 's film Rashomon.

“Straight to Hell”: In 1986, Joe Strummer paired with the Pogues on Alex Cox’s paella western

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