The Cinema of John Boorman
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John Boorman has written and directed more than 25 television and feature films, including such classics as Deliverance, Point Blank, Hope and Glory, and Excalibur. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including twice for best Director (Deliverance and Hope and Glory). In the first full-length critical study of the director in more than two decades, author Brian Hoyle presents a comprehensive examination of Boorman’s career to date.
The Cinema of John Boorman offers a film-by-film appraisal of the director’s career, including his feature films and little-known works for television. Drawing on unpublished archive material, Hoyle provides a close reading of each of Boorman's films. Organized chronologically, each chapter examines two or three films and links them thematically. This study also describes Boorman’s interest in myths and quest narratives, as well as his relationship with writers and literature. Making the case that Boorman is both an auteur and a visionary, The Cinema of John Boorman will be of interest not only to fans of the director’s work but to film scholars in general.
Seale (whose excellent work is marred only by some poor rear projection in the driving scenes) shot the film in anamorphic widescreen with “a Panaflex Gold [35 mm camera] and prime lenses.” As the director notes, this combination offers “tremendous resolution and definition,” but also suffers from a “lack of depth of field.” 11 Due to its vast size, when the Buddha is first seen in the background the shot almost appears to be in deep focus. However, as Andy moves to join the rest of the tour
actors pull off the difficult trick of being “dreadful yet sympathetic,” 39 as well as very funny, for while the full extent of their interest in the young runaways is only comically implied, one clearly gets the sense that Guy and Nan collect more than just antiques. While this bickering couple was conceived partly to inject some badly needed comic relief in the middle section of the film, these characters also serve an important purpose, although in material terms they could not be further
Lamont sets upon the demon, the house is destroyed by a locust storm, while outside, Sharon, who cries that she has “chosen evil,” sets herself on fire as Tuskin watches helplessly. Lamont finally removes Pazuzu’s heart and Regan, acting like Kokumo, subdues the locust swarm. As the police approach, Lamont absolves Sharon. Dr. Tuskin says that she now understands but that the “world won’t” and tells Lamont to take Regan to safety as she waits to face the authorities. Although Boorman admits to
simplicity it recalls the forty-year jump backward in time at the start of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), which is also achieved in a single shot. Hubris and Folly 113 The comparison to Powell and Pressburger is particularly apt, and Boorman should be viewed as a direct descendant of these two luminaries of British cinema. First, they preempted the younger filmmaker in their outspoken opposition to realism. In fact, it is possible that Powell’s decision to shoot Black Narcissus
film is influenced by the colonial fantasies of Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Boorman would perhaps argue, as he did with Excalibur, that the political subtext was unintentional and that Tomme’s path to becoming chief is that of the archetypal hero. According to Joseph Campbell, “Whether the hero be ridiculous or sublime, Greek or barbarian, gentile or Jew, his journey varies little in essential plan.” 85 Put simply, every myth tells of a hero who “ventures forth from the world of