Q3 2021

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52 C I N E M O N T A G E I N M E M O R I A M MILTON GINSBERG SEPTEMBER 22, 1935 – MAY 23, 2021 P H O T O : G I N S B E R G F A M I L Y By Peter Tonguette M ilton Moses Ginsberg, a pi- oneering independent f ilm director who maintained a ca- reer-long sideline as a picture editor, died May 23 at the age of 85. The Bronx native and longtime New York resident is most widely associated with the stark, daring, and highly original feature film he wrote and directed some 52 years ago: "Coming Apart," which premiered in October of 1969, starred Rip Torn as Joe Glazer, a psychiatrist who surreptitiously films female visitors to his apartment. The black-and-white film is presented from the perspective of Glazer's static hidden camera. "Milton Ginsberg was my friend of many years — a superb editor of docu- mentaries, he was also a filmmaker with a unique vision of the world," Motion Pic- ture Editors Guild president Alan Heim, ACE, told CineMontage. "'Coming Apart' was a tour-de-force of truly independent film which should be seen by everyone, a n d ' Th e We rewo l f o f Wa s h i n gto n ,' which followed it, is a treat." Although Ginsberg was influenced in part by the avant-garde films of Andy Warhol, the film's depiction of a protag- onist who uses technology to cope with a confused romantic life anticipates confessional films such as Steven Soder- bergh's "sex, lies and videotape." Upon its release, "Coming Apart" received admiring reviews from leading critics, including Gene Siskel and Rich- ard Schickel (the latter of whom called it "one of the few illuminating — not to say harrowing — portrayals of a schizo- phrenic crackup that I have ever seen on the screen.") "Joe Glazer comes apart in a series of sexual confrontations with as diverse (and ultimately as bleak) a group of partners as you're likely to see in a year of field trips to movies on 42d Street and Eighth Avenue," wrote New York Times critic Vincent Canby in his original review. Despite such notices, Ginsberg said that a single dismissive review from influential Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris led to the film's ultimate failure with audiences. "That was it," Ginsberg told the New York Times in 1998. "No agents called. I had done everything I wanted to do. And nothing happened." Ginsberg in an undated photo.

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