Something that I always think about is that I'm so lucky to be alive during these very "interesting times" (the Chinese would consider this a curse). Sometimes I wonder what would I be doing if I lived during the Renaissance. Would I have approached Leonardo or Michelangelo? beg them to take me as an intern in their workshops? I probably would have. We take for granted that we share this particular time with some outstanding geniuses and then it happens that they are suddenly gone and you missed the opportunity to meet them, or talk and learn from them.
On the other hand, because I am talking about artists, writers, and in particular filmmakers (the ones I consider artists) we are lucky that they left a body of work which allows us to continue this dialog.
Sidney Lumet died last year at the age of 86. He is one of the directors that made an everlasting impression in my life and career. He made over 50 films of which many are masterpieces of American Cinema. The first one I saw in the early 60's was The Pawnbroker which left me stunned with its raw power and its fearless look into ills of society that were not the stuff of Hollywood movies, but then again, he was a New Yorker and his films were as unadorned as the City can be.
After that film I made sure I saw everyone of them. In just two years Fail Safe and The Hill came out. I was in film heaven, a very angry heaven!
Maybe you have seen Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Prince of the City, The Verdict, or his last one, appropriately called, Before the Devil Knows you are Dead. He worked with some of the best and most important actors that any director could wish to work with, and got extraordinary realistic performances out of them.
He made history, and he lived during our time.