Paul Schrader

USA 2002. 105 Min.
Color. 35 mm.. E/d

In the mid 1960s life still looked quite bright for Bob Crane: after making a name for himself as a radio DJ and with a few guest appearances on television, he finally managed to make the great career leap to Hollywood as the main character of the TV series Hogan’s Heroes. At this time, he also got to know the video technician John Carpenter, with whom he became close friends – albeit with fatal consequences. Carpenter, played in a wonderfully casual yet inimitably abysmal way by Willem Dafoe, seduces the faithful family man to live a permissive lifestyle, which soon proves fatal for Crane. Equipped with a brand new video camera, the two sex fanatics spend their nights in the midst of gushing party orgies, which they capture on tape to replay at home.


The script for Auto Focus was written by Michael Gerbosi, based on “The Murder of Bob Crane” by Robert Graysmith, about the as yet unsolved murder of the actor in 1978. Paul Schrader stages Crane’s shady life as a fascinating, increasingly gloomy portrait of a man destroyed by compulsions, which his naivety and obsessions don’t allow him to recognise. (pj)


Print: Österreichisches Filmmuseum, Wien


DirectorPaul Schrader
ScreenplayMichael Gebosi
CinematographyJeffrey Greeley, Fred Murphy
EditingKristina Boden
MusicAngelo Badalamenti
WithGreg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello
ProducersScott Alexander, Alicia Allain, Larry Karaszewski, Brian Oliver, Todd Rosken

Paul Schrader