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Today is Day 2 of the second annual Minghella Film Festival. The events include a screening of What If It's Raining? (1986), a reading of Cigarettes and Chocolate, and much more. Day 1 had screenings of Bruce Webb's The Be All and End All and Sam Taylor-Wood's Love You More. Go here for the complete schedule and events.

More McCall Smith on Anthony:

Anthony came to Botswana not as a European or a big shot film director, benevolently bestowing his largesse on the locals, but as a genuinely curious person, wanting to know more about the traditions and lives of the people.

... )
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I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk by Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. He spoke, among other things, of working with Anthony on the film adaptation of his novel. Agency is groundbreaking in being the first film to be shot entirely in Botswana, and Smith said that the scene with the Bishop of Botswana was written by Anthony especially for the film. He said he was very glad when he first discovered that Anthony was making it, because "his films are beautiful"; he even talked a little about Ripley, calling it a film with "gorgeous textures and music".

And here is something funny that happened during the session. )
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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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