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Minghella says: 'I want to make a beautiful film.' I think: you will. And then I think: you understand what this means to these people. The world has been unkind to Africa, and here is a chance, through you, to show the positive side of the continent, its capacity for goodness and laughter and sheer human decency.

Later, Minghella draws me into Mma Ramotswe's office, now transformed by the addition of furniture. He produces a small computer on which are stored some of the sequences already filmed.
'I want to show you the scene where the teacher is reunited with his lost son,' he says. 'We did that the other day.'
Suddenly on the screen there is a group of schoolchildren singing.
Their singing falters and the teacher sees his kidnapped son, rescued by Mma Ramotswe, running across a dusty playground to embrace him. It is so beautifully filmed that I find myself struggling with emotion. I give in.
Minghella puts a hand on my shoulder. 'That's exactly what it did to me,' he says; the kindest thing for one man to say to another when one man is overcome.


Alexander McCall Smith
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In Appreciation of Anthony Minghella

December 2014

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