The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Trips to La Rochelle

Simon Turner reports:
Hello everyone,

I wonder if anyone else made the La Rochelle festival. I hitched there from Amsterdam. I have to mention it as it was remarkable! For most of the way towards far down the west coast of France and La Rochelle, a Belgian couple took me in their 5 litre, 5 tonne Volkswagon. Handmade craftsmanship, only three of them have been made! They went hundreds of kilometres out of their way to take me to beside my destination though I spoke up more than once that I really could get out at the next petrol station. Beautiful to look on the yellow and brown upholstery while we quietly raced at 220 kms/hr. They took me to an expensive restaurant, paying for me to drink two very good wines, eat foie gras for starter and a fish for main meal that melted once in the mouth. AMOLAD and TRS DVD's are now theirs by way of thanks and maybe they won't veer off next time!

I packed in 12 films in 3 days all by P&P and had to laugh at myself, as not seeing just one that I would have liked to have was bothering me!! (Tales of Hoffmann - damn, but I thought my t-shirt wouldn't come off if I didn't take a shower.) It seemed I instigated a near riot at Gone To Earth. Somehow too much of the lower part of the print was shown so that when characters had been photographed to the top of the frame, their heads were missing! After a while I looked around sharply at where the projection was from, almost standing up, the spark struck in the tinderbox as the place went up in uproar. I've never heard a sound like that in the UK and never expect to and it was almost worth the continued headlessness (!!) to hear it.

I realised that A Canterbury Tale has for me, the best written dialogue I believe of any film that I've ever seen. The Red Shoes equally wonderful, spellbinding. Straight to the bathroom to clean up my face after being so moved by the wonderful images and words. Leaving me gasping, letting the imagination lift-off, that unpredictable and exotic expressionism, their films often like the best possible written fairytales. A Canterbury Tale received applause that seemed to build and build. I'd only seen Peeping Tom, A Canterbury Tale and Oh... Rosalinda!! on the big screen before. By the third day my head was buzzing like I had a bee instead of a brain, having each time to find the key unlocking each one but seeing almost all more clearly than I have before. 49th Parallel, Gone To Earth and especially I Know Where I'm Going hit home as they hadn't done until then. Almost every film was 'upgraded'! (ACT and TRS to unbelievably wonderful!!) Another advantage La Rochelle has compared to other festivals in the north of Europe is the food. French waitresses must be almost used to foreigners in ecstacies over their food, 'boudin noir' actually on a par with Le Narcisse Noir! Is anyone driving from Netherlands-Belgium-France to London or Edinburgh in August?!


Other P&P trips