Peter Wollen, professor emeritus of film, television and digital media in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, has died. He was 81.
Wollen, who taught at UCLA from 1988 through 2006, died Dec. 17 in England. Born in London, Wollen studied English at Oxford.
The only feature film he wrote and directed solo was “Friendship’s Death” (1987), which was about the relationship between a British war correspondent, played by Bill Patterson, and a female robot, played by Tilda Swinton, from outer space that was on a peace mission to Earth. The robot planned to land at MIT, but accidentally touches down in Amman, Jordan during the events of the Black September conflict in 1970 between the Jordanian military and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
According to the British Film Institute, Wollen was “both a political journalist and film theorist,” [whose book] ‘Signs and Meaning in the Cinema,’ published in 1969, helped to transform the discipline of film studies by incorporating the methodologies of structuralism and semiotics.”
Wollen made his directorial debut with “Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons” (1974), the first of six films co-written and co-directed with his ex-wife, Laura Mulvey.