Saturday, September 05, 2009

Harry Ayres on Bill Douglas

Harry Ayres, whose column is one of the best reasons to buy the weekend FT, has a lovely account today of a four-hour discussion of the first 13 minutes of Bill Douglas' My Childhood at the National Film Theatre in London. I particularly liked this observation about the unjustly neglected Douglas:

You could certainly argue that Bill Douglas is hard on the audience; mind you, the lack of explanation at least in plot terms has become something of a cliché in contemporary action cinema. “You’re tough on the audience,” the filmmaker and exhibitor George Hoellering once complained to Douglas. Swiftly came back the answer: “They only have to put up with it for an hour or so. I had to endure it for a lifetime.” That sounds angry and aggressive, and there are those elements in his trilogy. But they are a defence against an extreme sensitivity and tenderness that shine out without the faintest trace of sentimentality.