A Matter of Life and Death: The Most Striking Film


The result is not only Powell’s most personal film, but his favorite film as well, with Pressburger still saying The Life and Times of Colonel Blimp was his. “Michael always said it was his favorite because it gave him a chance to play around with all the directing techniques he knew. He had a fantastic time,” says Schoonmaker, who thinks Hollywood wouldn’t allow not such an ambiguous and complex film. as a matter of life and death to do today.

“Everyone wants to explain everything. One thing Michael said to [Scorsese] and I was, ‘Never explain. Show it. Don’t explain it. Marty really took this to heart in a really big way. This is what makes it so beautiful. They don’t preach to you. They make you feel. They force you to commit. You might be a little confused at first. But then you say, ‘Oh, I see.’ Then you really start to be enchanted. “

Romance that affirms life

To this day, young moviegoers tell Schoonmaker how stunned they are with A Matter of Life and Death. “I think a lot of it is the boldness and the humor and just the love story. It constantly challenges and shocks,” she says, Christie adding that he thinks her messages of love, hope and intellectualism are so enduring that they can always be reinterpreted.

“It’s the measure of a great work of art. I always tell students that the definition of a classic is something that can be reinterpreted very differently at different times,” he explains. “We choose to see different things because of where we are at that time.”

Fortunately, Powell was well aware of the importance and legacy of the film before his death at the age of 84. Even in his dying moments, Schoonmaker could see the zest for life that made A Matter of Life and Death so inspiring and life-affirming.

“He always said of this movie, ‘Love involves sacrifice and sacrifice is about love.’ So when [June] walk on the stairs to give his life for [Peter], it’s Michael Powell. He would have done it for me, and I would have done it for him. He was not afraid of death. Even when he died, a smile appeared on his face… He just loved life. He knew how to live life. Some artists are so tortured and neurotic and he wasn’t like that. He savored every second of life. It was wonderful to live with it for this reason. It was always a joy. “

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