Vincenzo Natali

Biography

The Canadian-born fantasist director Vincenzo Natali is no stranger to dystopia; each of his three produced features thrusts ordinary human characters into the middle of an inexplicable and darkened future realm governed by seemingly impenetrable logic and follows the subjects as they struggle to come to terms with their environs. Natali burst onto the scene in 1997 with his surreal, low-budget sci-fi thriller Cube. This enigmatic film weaves the tale of a group of people clamoring to escape from some obscure cubic labyrinth where the casualty of a misstep involves full dismemberment by the cube itself. The film understandably impressed viewers and critics alike with Natali's ability to stretch cinematic boundaries on a shoestring budget; it also received multiple Genie nominations for art direction, sound, and an original score, and in time became something of a cult favorite. Natali was nothing if not prolific over successive years, and kept his feet planted ever firmly in the postmodern realm, beginning with several episodes of Earth: Final Conflict. Natali's 2002 follow-up to Cube, Cypher, stars Jeremy Northam, Lucy Liu and David Hewlett, in the tale of a man who assumes a new identity in preparation for an espionage career, but instead gets systematically brainwashed and finds himself engulfed in a shaky, paranoid reality. The film performed admirably on all fronts and paved the way for a tertiary effort, 2003's Nothing. Described by Natali as "a buddy comedy set in a void," the film involves a couple of eccentrics who literally wish the outside world out of existence, and (along with their house and pet turtle) turn up on a seemingly limitless white landscape, engulfed by white. The two men then don protective gear made of hockey pads and aluminum foil, and attempt to chart the space that dwarfs them. The film evaded release in the United States but -- like its predecessors -- garnered worldwide critical kudos. Two years down the road, Natali -- probably taking his cues from Keith Fulton's Lost in La Mancha -- shot a documentary on Terry Gilliam's production of the 2005 feature Tideland; the documentary premiered almost concurrently with the feature, in the autumn of 2005. Natali then contributed a segment to the 2006 film-à-sketch Paris Je T'aime, and -- that same year -- announced production on his fourth feature project, Necropolis. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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