Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Culture Show at the NFT

(Of course, that should be "The Culture Show at the BFI Southbank"). This morning I attended the recording of a London Film Festival special edition of The Culture Show in which Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo talked with his Radio 5 partner in crit Dr Mark Kermode and, a little later on, with Michael Palin. There's also a third section of the programme which we didn't see, a special piece about film criticism made by Hugo Young, which I very much look forward to seeing when it is actually broadcast.
The recording took place in NFT1 and with very little fuss (the picture above is, from left, Kermode, Mayo and Palin). There were some re-takes but essentially it just kicked off and the practised duo were quick, funny and to the point. Some questions during the floor during a tape change included whether Mark knew what the Secret Film (a week today) is going to be. He didn't but they discussed the possibility of James Cameron's Avatar with a certain hostility. It was also interesting to know that - and a truly random fact this, dredged from the mind of a caffeinated Kermode) - the book upon which the original Wicker Man was based was written by a cover for one of the parts in the stage play of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap. Apparently he simply sat backstage at the theatre and wrote while he wasn't being used. So there you go.

Michael Palin came in talk about his second tome of memoirs, which cover the transition from TV to film, including his work writing in L.A. and the beginning of his stint of travel filmmaking. He was gregarious if a little older-looking and had a great story about how he was cast in, filmed part of and then was cut from Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail.

Mark Kermode liked The Road and The Men Who Stare At Goats well enough although he seemed reticent about Fantastic Mr Fox, claiming it is a film made by adults for adults making erroneous assumptions about what's likely to appeal to children (I think that's broadly fair). He's also particularly looking forward to Sam Taylor-Wood's Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy which closes the Festival. The programme airs on Thursday.

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