Monday, 19 November 2012

THE L SHAPED ROOM CHANGED MY LIFE

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This week end I decided to stay in. It is a rarity. I actually like to be out or in another country. To feel the air against my cheeks. However this time I went on to You Tube to check an old film that I felt changed my life. A film and book that taught me all I needed to know when I was young. A film by Bryan Forbes called The L shaped room based in a book by Lynne Reid Banks. Who wrote about 40 books, lived in a Kibbutz and was one of the first women on Television. She trained as an actress and became a writer.



I watched it with my friend Tim Willis, and we both agreed that it must have shocked the world when it came out in 1962. The story of a French woman played by Leslie Caron who was pregnant and living in a boarding house for seven months in Nottinghill Gate. She is pregnant. With no intention of living with the babies father, she strikes up interesting and moving friendships with the unusual occupants of the boarding house. Beautifully shot it is probably one of the most ravishing black and white films I have seen.  I tried watching other films after seeing it and I could not, they just were not as good. John Osbourne's Look back in Anger, a shouting match, seemed irritating.  No the L shaped room, although almost a silent movie,  in the silence saying so much. It had an impact on my youth. It taught me about different cultures, ideas and that all were acceptable. Leslie Caron's moving performance won her a BAFTA, a globe and she was even nominated for an Academy Award for her performance. I remember often being interviewed for magazines and was asked what book I liked the most I would say the L shaped room. Actually not remembering any of it. I just remember being lulled into thinking it had a Nietzsche quality to it. Bryan Forbes was educated at RADA. In this particular case, he is a truly magnificent film maker.  I don't know why he didn't make more?.  However we can be grateful for Colditz, The Railway Children and Whistle down the Wind. Still alive I believe he runs a book shop. 

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