He’s worked in nearly every genre – gangster picture, war epic, political thriller, sword-and-sorcery fantasy, sci-fi head-trip – but his career has been far more prestigious than that of any B-movie maestro. With five Oscar nominations and two best director prizes from the Cannes Film Festival, John Boorman is one of the most celebrated British directors of the past half a century. He instilled fear of the backwoods American South in Deliverance, updated film noir for the hippie era in Point Blank and captured his own experiences of life during the Blitz in Hope & Glory.
Hope & Glory earned him a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards in 1987, and it’s remained close to his heart. So much so that he’s followed it up 28 years later with a sequel, Queen & Country, about his own experiences of mandatory service in the British Army in the 1950s. The character who serves as his stand-in, Bill, is almost exactly like he was: mad about the movies and constantly quoting lines from films by his favourite directors. Bill, like Boorman, receives an extensive education in film simply by visiting the cinema – frequently.
In conversation with Alison Bailes for BBC Culture’s Flashback, Boorman expands upon the cinematic touchstones featured in Queen & Country. This is the story of how these film-makers shaped Boorman’s own vision, and his utterly singular 50-year career.
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