Fall 2015

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34 CINEMONTAGE / FALL 2015 by Peter Tonguette I n a career spanning nearly 45 years, supervising sound editor Anthony J. "Chic" Ciccolini III has worn many hats. He has been a frequent collaborator to directors as diverse as Ron Howard, Jim Jarmusch and David Mamet. On five occasions, he has been among the nominees for the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award. His tasks have included re-creating the sounds of both a small town in the South (1991's The Man in the Moon) and a brutal boxing ring (2005's Cinderella Man). But in the summer of 1979, Ciccolini was simply a reader — one among many. Like thousands of others that literary season, he picked up a copy of Sophie's Choice, the new novel from Pulitzer Prize- winning author William Styron. "I read the book," he says, "and I was totally moved by the story." The plot is devastating in its details: In 1947, an unworldly young man named Stingo pulls up stakes from Virginia to Brooklyn with the notion of establishing himself as a writer. Finding suitable lodging in a boarding house painted in pink (also known as the Pink Palace), he soon joins the circle of Sophie and Nathan, a romantic but inscrutable couple who are also residents. In time, a picture emerges, as Polish-born, Roman Catholic Sophie describes her experience during World War II. Although a survivor of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, her family — in the incomprehensible "choice" that gives rise to Styron's title — was torn asunder. (She had been a wife and mother in Poland.) In all likelihood, were it not for writer/director Alan J. Pakula, Ciccolini would have remained simply an admirer of Sophie's Choice. But when the director — who counted among his credits such formidable films as Klute (1971), The Parallax View (1974) and All the President's Men (1976) — took on Styron's 500-plus-page novel, Ciccolini found himself in a position to help present Sophie's story to movie audiences. In an Academy Award-winning performance, Meryl Streep played Sophie. Kevin Kline was Nathan and Peter MacNicol was Stingo. Having already collaborated with him on the Wall Street-set thriller Rollover (1981), Pakula and picture editor Evan A. Lottman, ACE, invited Ciccolini to serve as the supervising sound editor on Sophie's Choice (1982). "I had an editor who believed in me, and I also had a director who believed in me," says Ciccolini, who had been working in both picture and sound editing for MY MOST MEMORABLE FILM Chic Ciccolini on 'Sophie's Choice' Chic Ciccolini. Top, left: Sophie's Choice. Universal Pictures/Photofest CONTINUED ON PAGE 37

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