This dive into the Second World War at the height of a child signed John Boorman celebrates his 35th birthday this evening in Place au cinema, presented by Dominique Besnehard on France 5
An autobiographical film
hope and glory begins on September 3, 1939 when England enters the war. And its hero is a 7-year-old boy whose way of experiencing this conflict we will follow, with his child’s gaze, in a mixture of joy (the joy of seeing his school burn!) and terror (their house bombed) when his father left the family home to fight. John Boorman then emerged from the success of The Emerald Forest and chooses, to return to shoot in Great Britain, to start writing an autobiographical film. Because the young hero of hope and glory, he was 6 years old when the Second World War broke out and 11 when it ended. He explained at the time that he embarked on this adventure because he could not find his childhood memories of this period in any film.
The choice of color
Prior to filming, it was suggested to John Boorman to shoot hope and glory in black and white but the director had declined, judging that only color would allow him to translate his childhood memories as accurately as possible on the screen. Starting with this orange light that hovered over the city of London because of the fires started during the Blitz. And to create that on-screen light, John Boorman enlisted Philippe Rousselotthe French cinematographer with whom he had just collaborated on The Emerald Forest. They will work together again in 2001 on The Tailor of Panama. And in the meantime, Rousselot will have accumulated the trophies: after a first César for Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix in 1982, he won two more for Therese by Alain Cavalier in 1987 and Queen Margot by Patrice Chéreau in 1995. And he will also be an Oscar winner in 1992 for And in the middle flows a river by Robert Redford.
A film difficult to finance
Despite the success of The Emerald Forest, hope and glory was initially refused by all the major Hollywood studios… until the arrival of the British David Puttnam (who, the previous year, had produced Mission by Roland Joffé, winner of a Palme d’Or) at Columbia, which has decided to take over American distribution. Well he took it: hope and glory will be nominated five times for the Oscars, including best picture, in a ceremony dominated head and shoulders by The Last Emperor by Bernardo Bertolucci. But just before, he had won the Golden Globe – comedy category – against in particular broadcast news and dirty dancing.
John Boorman: “The camera stops, and you die”