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A Fuller Life
The American filmmaker Samuel Fuller (1912–97) was one of the great documentary filmmakers and directors whose work was shaped by war. As a soldier in the Second World War in the famous U.S. First Infantry Division (code name: Big Red One), Fuller witnessed the liberation of the Falkenau concentration camp, which he documented in his “first amateur film.” Later he explored the traumatic effects of war on the human psyche in feature films such as Shock Corridor (1963) and The Big Red One (1980). “How does one relate to the unimaginable? How can we tell the world what we experienced?”
For the hundredth anniversary of her father’s birth, Samantha Fuller is offering us a look at his archive. The director found dozens of unreleased 16-mm film reels with footage from the Second World War, which became the point of departure for her film. A series of illustrious actors and directors meet in Fuller’s fascinating study and office: Jennifer Beals, William Friedkin, Monte Hellman, Tim Roth, Bill Duke, Wim Wenders, James Franco, and many others, read excerpts from Fuller’s autobiography, A Third Face: A Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking. The film deftly combines stories with the found film footage and offers a sympathetic homage to one of the most interesting and controversial figures in American cinema.
Samantha Fuller was born in Los Angeles on 28 January, 1975, the only child of filmmaker Samuel Fuller and writer-actress Christa Lang. The Fullers soon moved to Paris where Samantha received a French education and attended the Sorbonne, studying philosophy and translation. When her father died in 1997, she returned to L.A. and started a family, as well as a successful artisanal glass business. In 2011, the year before her father's centennial, she began exploring his historic office, an experience that inspired her to create A Fuller Life, a documentary based on his autobiography. She is now committed to maintaining the Samuel Fuller Archives while pursuing her own career in filmmaking.