David Chute, the authoritative film critic and writer who was one of the first champions of Stephen King, John Waters, John Woo and Asian cinema, has passed away. He was 71 years old.
Chute died on Nov. 8 in Los Angeles after a brief battle with esophageal cancer, her daughter, Nora Chute, reported.
David Christopher Chute was born March 11, 1950 in Bangor, Maine. Her father, Robert, was a poet and professor of biology at Bates College, and her mother, Vicki, a novelist.
Chute attended Putney School and St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and launched his career in the 1970s as a film critic at the Kennebec Journal and Maine time, where he discovered Stephen King and wrote a profile of the author in Take one. (King once inscribed a copy of his 1977 novel The brilliant at Chute, calling it “America’s best film critic.” “)
In 1978, Chute joined the Boston phoenix, where he supported innovative horror writers like George Romero and John Carpenter. He took genre fiction, movies, comics and graphic novels seriously, long before other critics heard of Alan Moore, Frank Miller, R. Crumb or Harvey Pekar.
âI could never have survived those early years without his ability to take on whatever I threw at him and turn it into a fluid critical piece, shimmering with nuggets of insight,â he said. Phoenix Editor Stephen Schiff wrote on Facebook about Chute’s impact on a generation of movie critics.
“The genre and all the thrills that came with it drew him in, then obsessed him – I first read the then under-recognized Stephen King just to see what David was talking about – and it was fascinating to seeing him continue to push his geek into more and more niche nichesâ¦ It shed a lot of light on what, to most American readers, had been pretty obscure corners.
In 1981, Movie Commentary ran Career Definition Profiles by Fall on Independent Mavericks John Sayles and Waters in the same issue. (Waters, along with King, attended Chute’s 1983 wedding with Movie Commentary Associate Editor Anne Thompson.)
“David Chute was one of the few critics to champion my early films, and his reviews have been a huge help in getting my career on the right track,” Waters wrote in a statement. “He understood my humor and knew that there really COULD be exploitation films for art theaters.”
In 1982, Chute joined Peter Rainer as a critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, where Chute was nominated for a Pulitzer for its 10 games Behind the screen series on cinema crafts. He also continued to write for Movie Commentary.
Over the years, Chute has featured such figures as David Cronenberg, Roger Corman, George Miller, Joe Dante, Brian De Palma, Water Hill, James Cameron, Zhang Yimou, Seijun Suzuki, Tsui Hark and Hayao Miyazaki and has edited sections on Hong Kong and Bollywood. movie theater. Pauline Kael cited the Miller profile of Chute in her review of The New Yorker of The road warrior (nineteen eighty one).
Fall also covered Lawrence Kasdan during american cinema; Jackie Chan, Youssef Chahine, Om Puri and Pedro Almodovar for LA Weekly; Philip Kaufman and Francis Ford Coppola for the Los Angeles Times; and Gong Li and Woo for Vanity Show.
âHonestly, I cannot quote another review including [Roger] Ebert and Kael, âwrote critic Wade Major,â who seems to have touched so many lives â.
Chute helped popularize Hong Kong cinema in the United States. He introduced Woo to Universal director James Jacks, who supported the filmmaker’s first American film, Difficult target (1993). Chute served as the unit publicist on this film and on Woo’s Broken arrow (1996) and that of Quentin Tarantino Jackie Brown (1997).
Chute and Tarantino together recorded commentary tracks for a set of classic martial arts reissues from The Shaw Brothers of Hong Kong, and Chute has contributed to several Criterion Collection releases for Hong Kong films.
“David was an extremely fine and insightful film writer, and I have always enjoyed the articles and reviews he wrote for various film magazines,” wrote producer Terence Chang. âHe championed the films of John Woo and other Hong Kong directors long before anyone heard of them. Likewise, he made us discover the brilliance of Indian cinema when no one took it seriously. Above all, David was the most decent, genuine, honest and kindest friend I have ever known. A rare breed in this industry in which he worked.
In 2003, Chute and Cheng-Sim Lim organized a UCLA Film & Television Archive series, Heroic Grace: Chinese Martial Arts Movie, accompanied by essays by critics David Bordwell and Berenice Reynaud, among others. A year later he was curator of the Indian cinema series Bombay melody at UCLA.
âDavid had a knack for doing things like that,â Lim wrote, ârecognizing talent where others (especially Western critics) weren’t looking. “
From 2004 to 2013, Chute was a senior editor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television while continuing to provide reviews of new versions of Bollywood at LA Weekly, Variety and IndieWire. In recent years, he had prepared a definitive historical overview of Wuxia martial arts cinema.
In addition to his daughter and Thompson, now editor at IndieWire, he is survived by his sister, Dian. A memorial service will be held privately in Los Angeles.