FIVE STAR FILM: A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

A Matter of Life and Death (UK, 1946)
Directed by Michael Powell & Emeric Pressberger
Starring David Niven, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey, Kim Hunter

BFI Top 100: #20 (1999)
Nicholas Meyer, the director of Star Trek II and VI, once said: “Art thrives on restrictions and things left out... Movies have a tendency to do everything for you, too much – they can tell you where to look, they can tell you what to hear, so as a director I’m always curious at things that movies manage to leave to the imagination.” Because film makes it very straightforward to show anything (especially as technology improves), it is very easy for it as a medium to take something enormously imaginative and reduce it down to mere spectacle. C. S. Lewis approved of his Narnia books being adapted on radio because it preserved the role of the audience’s imagination; he was “absolutely opposed” to a TV version on the grounds that it would reduce his anthropomorphic characters to “buffoonery or nightmare”. Regardless …

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