"The unexamined life is not worth living." If Socrates is right about this (and far be it for me to disagree with him), he has provided the greatest possible justification for the art of biography. Biography, of course, is all about the examination of lives.  It is the art of stitching together the facts of … Continue reading Why Real Lives on Screen?

Why Real Lives on Screen?

Book beginnings

I have finally broken ground on the first draft of Broadcasting Biography. Those who write will know the horror of the blank page, so I am delighted and relieved to have made a start. I have decided to do as Maria suggests in The Sound of Music, and start at the very beginning. Well - with chapter … Continue reading Book beginnings

Ethics part 1

Today started with reading a fascinating Q&A with the dramatist and screenwriter Peter Morgan, probably the best known contemporary moving image biographer. There is a lot of rich material in this interview, but I was particularly engaged by Morgan's provocative distinction between accuracy and truth. Morgan persistently argues that there is an inherent and essential … Continue reading Ethics part 1

More melodrama and storytelling for TV

I had one piece of melodrama reading hanging over from last week, which I finished off today: Ben Singer's Melodrama and Modernity (2001). I've read this book before, a long time ago, I think for an undergraduate essay about melodrama and Italian cinema.  Needless to say, I had forgotten most of its insights in the intervening years, … Continue reading More melodrama and storytelling for TV

“Real” horror – Serial Killers in American Horror Story: Hotel: Devil’s Night

I'm a fan of American Horror Story, and so far forgiven both a lot of its excesses, particularly its repetitive use of archetypes and mise-en-scene with Baz Luhrmann levels of subtlety.  I've also been generally on board with its promiscuous use of pop culture referencing, even in places where it is simply meretricious (Elsa 'Life on' Mars, … Continue reading “Real” horror – Serial Killers in American Horror Story: Hotel: Devil’s Night

Iris (2001)

Synopsis:  Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench), internationally renowned author and philosopher, is eking out a quiet semi-retirement with her academic husband John Bayley (Jim Broadbent).  Prompted by atypical lapses in memory,  Iris reluctantly agrees to visit a doctor, who diagnoses Alzheimer's disease.  Iris must contend with a gradual erasure of her memory and personality, and John is … Continue reading Iris (2001)