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Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Thelma at Canterbury Christchurch

25 November 2009

Soon after my trip to the Bath Film Festival I was off on another trip to meet Thelma Schoonmaker again. Eddie and the gang at Canterbury Christchurch had invited her down there to earn her honorary Fellowship and unveil some new banners they've had made up for the Powell building. There's one of Micky gazing through a filter and the other is the one of Micky & Emeric on the steps in Canterbury Cathedral - or are they? Actually they aren't, they're in the studio. We know this because Emeric wasn't allowed into Kent because he was considered to be an enemy alien.

I met lots of old friends, and made some new ones, including Michael Powell's god-daughter. Imagine having him as your godfather! The actual unveiling ceremony was a bit odd. Everyone was strung out along a corridor and there was no PA or anything so only the people close to the action heard anything. Somebody mumbled something for a while and then Thelma said a few words and the banners were officially unveiled. Actually, they weren't even veiled, we could all see them all the time anyway.

But it was better when we all went into the main theatre where Thelma was due to talk to the students. She showed them a clip from Raging Bull, the one of Jake's last fight, first at normal speed and then going through it slowly explaining how and why they made a lot of the decisions about how it should be done. Then she took questions from the students, and some of the lecturers, and a great set of questions they were. They gave her a chance to tell some very interesting stories about how she and Marty work and what their influences are - not just P&P although they did get mentioned quite often.

After the formal Q&A one of the students plucked up the courage to ask to have his photo taken with Thelma, and the rest quickly followed. She finished up having her photo taken with loads of them - one at a time, all the while answering more questions that they put to her. Of course most of them put an arm round her and a lot of them were young men. So she finished up getting hugged by lots of young men - it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it :)

So that's another couple of hundred miles on the odometer which means I've done well over 1,000 miles since this time last week. I think I'll be glad to get back to normal for a while - but it's been fun.


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