In anticipation of the brilliant From Page to Screen film festival which opens in Bridport next month, Country Calling tracked down this year's guest director novelist, broadcaster and former Newsnight presenter Francine Stock.
There are so many great adaptions of novels. Can you tell us how you chose the screen adaptions featuring in this year's festival?
You're right - I was spoilt for choice. In the end, though, you want a balance: faithful adaptions that add something of the spirit of the age (such as Moira Buffini's Jane Eyre) with free versions that use the spirit of a narrative (like Rashomon or the inventive animation A Morning Stroll, this year's BAFTA winner and also Oscar nominated). You want playful (10 Things I Hate About You or Forbidden Planet) as well as powerful and passionate (Resistance or La Bete Humaine). And if you can bring to the ore a few neglected gems like the Early Powell and Pressburger The Small Back Room - alongside a pre-release screening of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, then the mixture starts to bubble.
Sir Tom Courtenay shot to fame for his role in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. What will you be talking to him about and why did you pick this film?
Tony Richardson's flim of Alan Sillitoe's story, with its depiction of class and injustice within one reform institution, is crucial to the British New Wave of the early 60s. I'll hope to talk to Sir Tom about the way he tackle the character, what the role meant to him personally and the new mood in cinema at the time. And it's the film's 50th anniversary! The screen adaption of the Woman in Black is said to be terrifying. Do you think it's an accurate reflection of Susan Hill's story?
The screen adaption of the Woman in Black is said to be terrifying. Do you think it's an accurate reflection of Susan Hill's story?
It is extremely scary in that brilliant, stylish way where you see very little but imagine a whole lot worse. The filmmakers - director James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman - have brought the story back closer to Susan Hill's narrative than the long-running play.
Bridport has become a cultural hub for the South West. Can you tell us what you most like about it?
I am very much looking forward to being in a place where there's so much enthusiasm and commitment to the arts. And of course, apart from the films and the people, I'll be taking time for at least three B's local to Bridport - beaches, Broadoak (where I'll be staying) and the famous bakery in town.
Find out more about the forthcoming From Page To Screen festival here