When Bob Crane, the star of TV’s Hogan’s Heroes, meets video technician John Carpenter in the 1960s, it changes his life. The actor had previously made do with porn magazines to survive in a sexually-unfulfilling marriage; now he is making his own porn films – starring himself. Crane and Carpenter’s friendship remains intact as long as Bob uses his celebrity to lure in women, and John keeps acquiring the latest equipment. But then Crane’s wife, and more and more of his film colleagues learn of his escapades. Not only his marriage, but also his career goes into a steep decline … In this biopic about Bob Crane (1928 – 1978), Willem Dafoe embodies the malefic tempter with Mephistophelean verve. In his portrayal, John Carpenter, who was bisexual and called himself “half Indian”, was a shady character. But in contrast to his sex-obsessed friend, he was capable of sincere feeling. Following Light Sleeper (1992) and Affliction (1997), Auto Focus was Dafoe’s third film for director Paul Schrader, who also headed up the Berlinale’s International Jury in 2007 when the actor was a member. The two would work together again on Adam Resurrected (2008) and most recently on Dog Eat Dog (2016).
106 min · Colour · 35 mm
Greg KinnearWillem DafoeRita WilsonMaria BelloRon LeibmanBruce SolomonEdward H. FeldmanMichael RodgersKurt Fuller
Focus Puller Inc.USA
Sony Pictures Classics, Inc.New York, USA
Good Machine, Inc.New York, USA