Friday, July 27, 2007

Paul Laverty: the "spectacular lie"

Paul Laverty, the long-time writing partner of Ken Loach, has just been interviewed by the Santa Barbara Independent about scriptwriting and their choice of subject matter. The film "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" picked up the Palme d'or in Cannes last year. It takes an uncompromising look at the struggle for independence in Ireland and the subsequent Civil War. Although many people considered it as a metaphor for the Iraq war, Laverty denies this entirely. A far better parallel (which Laverty does not make) could be made with the Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, not just in terms of the direct brutality of occupation but also in terms of its effects on the resistors. The core story is, after all, about two brothers that have to face each other.

An interesting quote from the article: "Did you feel drawn to screenwriting because you felt you could reach a wider audience and bring more attention to issues that were important to you? Choosing the subject matter, the characters and premise to a story, and how we attempt to tell it reveals a great deal about the filmmakers. Our choice of material is of course affected by our values, politics, and how we see the world. It strikes me that a great many contemporary films glorify the pursuit of wealth, romanticize violence, and usually set up “Western values” as superior. It’s often simplistic and very crude; black and white. In the end, it makes for a spectacular lie about how Westerners see themselves. They lie to the rest of the world, too. I have zero interest or respect for this type of filmmaking, no matter where it comes from."

For the full article, visit Santa Barbara Independent.

Paul Laverty on Amazon US

Paul Laverty on Amazon UK

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