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Saturday, July 26, 2003
John Schlesinger

Alas, the remarkable film maker John Schlesinger has died. Here is an extract from a fine obituary:
Based on his own experiences, Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971) starred Finch as a homosexual doctor in love with a young man who also shares his favours with a woman (Glenda Jackson). Set in the middle-class homes of Hampstead, this elegant work benefited from the heartbreaking sensibility of Finch's performance, and despite silly moments (the pot-smoking children) it remains Schlesinger's best film, alongside his debut [A Kind of Loving] and a later work for television - again with a gay theme - An Englishman Abroad (1983)
Read the whole piece here. Interestingly, an Englishman Abroad is about Guy Burgess in Moscow after his defection to the Soviet Union. More about that some other time.

I agree that Sunday Bloody Sunday was Schlesinger's best film. It's a movie where the music makes a vital contribution. 'Soave sia il vento', the Act 1 trio from Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart) forms a sort of idée fixe. Apart from the exquisite nature of the music, the event captured by the trio in the opera - bidding farewell to the men going away for a while - matches perfectly the recurring partings of the two pairs of screen lovers.

When I first saw the film many years ago, I left the cinema with a sense of wonder at the beauty of a piece of accurately observed, near-perfect art. We can but hope that SBS will be shown on TV shortly as a tribute.

As for Glenda Jackson, I wonder what became of her...

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