David Mamet’s description of Hollywood as a sinkhole of depraved veniality remains at odds with our hopeless hope that it can become ‘a protective monastery of aesthetic Truth’. Annually, droves of writers, actors, directors and producers go there to create, and if the place is decadent, it is because they are forbidden to do so by a monstrous economic machine which hijacked the system a long time ago. Screenwriting was the early victim of this system, partly because as an activity it is hard to define. Pages that entice the performer and investor through the letter box are rarely the ‘sides’ that are utilised on the shooting day. (Sides are the multicoloured sheets which have been processed the night before.) They are the result of renegotiation and simplification. Screenwriting, unlike theatre writing, is not the expression of the unconscious self but the compromised conclusion of an original idea.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'The authors do not shrink from spelling out the scale of the killings when the Rhodesians made long-distance raids on guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia.'
Xan Smiley on how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.
'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).