fbpx

DAVID LEAN: A LIFE IN FILM

Director: NIGEL WATTIS

U.K. • 1985 • COLOUR • DIGITAL VIDEO • 150 MIN


Made to coincide with the U.K. opening of ‘A Passage to India’, this ‘South Bank Show’ documentary covers filmmaker David Lean’s life and career, from his Croydon upbringing to his cinematic pre-eminence. It features admirers such as Steven Spielberg, displaying an impressive recall of intricate Lean moments. Villains also appear, the critic Richard Schickel uncomfortably defending his New York colleagues in their infamous confrontation with Lean over ‘Ryan’s Daughter’.
The most interesting moments are those which show the director at work. ‘That’s bloody good,’ Lean murmurs as he directs Alec Guinness’ Godbole in his farewell to Peggy Ashcroft’s Mrs Moore in ‘A Passage to India’, and it is: Guinness’ finest moment in a hugely controversial performance. It was not a particularly happy set, and the documentary shrewdly picks up the tensions. Writing in ‘Sight and Sound’, which rarely had a good word to say about Lean, Penelope Houston opined that he ‘was never quite the man to come to terms with Forsterian subtleties’. ‘Sight and Sound’ was never quite the magazine to appreciate Lean’s sublimity; this documentary does; and it does its subject proud.—Neil Sinyard.

Book Tickets

}