Three-time Oscar winner and long-time Martin Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker introduced the screening of the 1947 movie The Black Narcissus, directed by Powell and Pressburger, at Avening Memorial Hall this afternoon.
Ms Schoonmaker, famous for editing films such as Goodfellas, Raging Bull and The Aviator, was married to Michael Powell from 1984 until his death in 1990 and has a home in Avening. She spoke about the film, and Michael Powell’s career, to a packed hall.
Black Narcissus is the first of two Powell and Pressburger films being screened by Stroud Film Festival, with A Matter of Life and Death being shown next Saturday, November 25th. The events have been supported by the National Lottery and The British Film Institute’s Audience Network.
“I love being in Avening because I have so many happy memories of being here with my husband, who lived here for almost 30 years in a beautiful cottage up Step’s Lane, and it reminds me of him, of course, and our happy times together, so I love being here,” Thelma told Stroud Times.
“Martin Scorsese, my director, and I share a desire to keep the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in front of the audience – and that’s why I’m here.
“We’re doing a big celebration of Powell and Pressburger in the UK right now and I’m going to various events to talk about that, and open people’s minds to these beautiful films.”
Powell and Pressburger collaborated on 24 films between 1939 and 1972, the best known of them being The Red Shoes, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, and The Tales of Hoffman.
Andy Freedman, founder of Stroud Film Festival, described Thelma’s visit as ‘overwhelming’.
“She is such a major figure in the film world – it’s incredible she’s come to an event like this in a village hall in the Stroud area. Thelma was married to Michael Powell, so that connection is extraordinarily powerful for us, and in addition she’s an Oscar-winning film editor and has edited most of the Martin Scorsese films you’ve heard of.
“She says Michael [Powell] would have been really pleased to think that 70-plus years on, his films are still being shown – and they even had their wedding reception in this building!”
For more information on the screening of A matter of Life and Death visit: www.stroudfilmfestival.org