The American actor will receive the Sofia Award of Sofia Municipality for his contribution to the art of cinema
„Where do I go? Follow my heartbeat
Where do I go? Follow my hand
Where do they lead me?
And will I ever discover why I live and die?...”
Several generations remember this refrain, sung by Claude Hooper Bukowski from the epochal musical "Hair". In 1979 the work of Galt McDermott, Jerome Ragni and James Rado was immortalized on film by Milos Forman and the role of the pure and naive soul Claude was entrusted to John SAVAGE.
The famous American actor was born on August 25, 1949 in Long Island, New York, USA. He studied at the American Academy for the Performing Arts. He debuted on Broadway, starring in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof". Even though he was an understudy to one of the main actors, he got a chance to perform. In the years between 1972 and 1975 he participated in a number of films, created a television show and played in the Chicago Theater for three years, where he received a Drama Circle Awards for his stage performance of Billie Bibi in the "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" play. Subsequently he moved to Los Angeles - acting in the play "Eric" with Mark Hamill and Patricia Neal, and after that was chosen for the role of Bobby in the production of David Mamet's "American Buffalo", directed by Ulu Grosbard.
His big break in cinema came with his acting in "The Deer Hunter" (1978) – playing the part of an American soldier Steven returning from the Vietnam War without feet, tortured by excruciating moral and psychological trauma. The film, directed by Michael Cimino, was the big winner of the 51st Oscar awards with nominations in 9 categories, and five awards won, including for best film and for best director Michael Cimino, who also received a "Golden Globe" for "The Deer Hunter" - undoubtedly one of the greatest films in the history of American cinema.
The next year - 1979 - was even more successful for John Savage’s acting career as Milos Forman gave him the unforgettable role of Claude Hooper Bukowski in the hit musical "Hair". Savage also acted in the adaptation of "The Onion Field", directed by Harold Becker and based on the novel by Joseph Huambo. Very different acting challenges followed, including a character that has survived a suicide attempt in the film by Richard Donner - "Inside Moves" (1980), "The Amateur" (1981) where his character was avenging the death of his wife in the eastern bloc before the fall of the Berlin Wall. In "Maria's Lovers" (1984) he was a former prisoner of war, true to his childhood sweetheart, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, starring Nastassja Kinski. Outstanding performances followed in "Salvador" (1986) by Oliver Stone and in "The Godfather Part III" (1990) by Francis Ford Coppola.
In the late 80s and early 90s, John Savage demonstrated his political and civil position by being actively involved and working together with Nelson Mandela in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. That did not prevent him from continuing his work as an actor and building a multitude of very successful film and television roles. He joined the production team of "Malcolm X" by Spike Lee. Unforgettable are also the characters he played in "The Thin Red Line" (1998) by Terrence Malick, "Message in a Bottle" (1999) by Luis Mandoki, "Handsome Harry" (2009) by Betty Gordon, and "The Cover-up" (2008) by Brian Jun. More than memorable are his characters in the series "Dark Angel" (2000) by James Cameron and the successful HBO series, created in 2003 - "Carnival".
Outside of his numerous (over 200!) film, theater and television roles, John Savage has also manifested himself as a producer and a composer.
At the upcoming 21st Sofia International Film Fest, John Savage will present to the Bulgarian audience "The Return" (“Povratak”, 2017) by Serbian director Predrag Jaksic – a story about a man who comes back to his hometown after 40 years just to see that there is nobody there anymore. His friends from America are coming after him to get him back and the small village in Vojvodina becomes lively as never before.
The festival’s audience will have the pleasure to see again and cult classic films "The Deer Hunter" and "Hair" presented personally by John SAVAGE on March 11, Saturday. There will also be another chance to meet him on Saturday at the Cinema House – the now famous "INTERVIEW with an autograph" which has already been turned into a tradition with a trademark "Sofia - City of Film".
„Why do I live, why do I die?
Where do I go?
Tell my why, tell me where?
Tell my why, tell me where?
Tell me why...?”