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Michael Radford

Michael Radford

Michael Radford was born in New Delhi, India to an English father and an Austrian mother. He grew up mainly in the Middle East, where his father served in the British army, and was educated at Bedford School and at Worcester College, Oxford. At the age of 25, having been a teacher for a number of years in Edinburgh, he went to the National Film School as one of the first 25 students in its inaugural year.

Upon graduating from the National Film School in 1974, he embarked on a series of documentaries, mainly for the BBC, including THE MADONNA AND THE VOLCANO (Grand Prix Nyon 1776) and LAST STRONGHOLD OF THE PURE GOSPEL. In 1980 he wrote and directed his first feature for BBC Scotland entitled THE WHITE BIRD PASSES adapted from the novel by Jessie Kesson. It was the success of this collaboration that led to the writing and making of ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE, one of the first films commissioned by Channel 4 for the cinema, selected for the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at Cannes in 1983 and winner of fifteen major prizes at festivals around the world. The critical success of this film launched his career in feature films. Radford's next film, in 1984, was the cinematic adaptation of George Orwell's book of the same name and starring Richard Burton and John Hurt. Radford's 1984 won the British Film Award for best film and best actor, as well as numerous other international prizes. WHITE MISCHIEF starring Greta Scacchi and Joss Ackland, followed this in 1987. Although this has now become a cult film in the USA and round the world, it was a commercial failure at the time and Radford did not make another film for 6 years. During this period he went to live firstly in France, then Italy, writing screenplays and directing commercials.

It was his long-standing friendship with the Italian actor, Massimo Troisi that led to his writing and directing IL POSTINO, the first Italian film made by an Englishman. The film became one of the biggest grossing foreign language films of all time as well as being nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Screenplay and winning over thirty-five international awards including BAFTA's for Best Director and Best Foreign Film. It was a film made, however, under the most tragic of circumstances as the star of the film was dying during production and was not to live to enjoy its success.

Since IL POSTINO, Radford has co-written and directed B-MONKEY, starring Asia Argento and Rupert Everett, his first British film for 8 years, in 2001, DANCING AT THE BLUE IGUANA for Moonstone, an improvised film set in LA strip clubs. This was made with an ensemble group of actors including Darryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly and Elias Koteas. He also directed Darryl Hannah in the highly successful London stage revival of THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH.

He has also, along with fifteen other major directors around the world, completed a compilation film entitled TEN MINUTES OLDER. Radford's sci-fi film entitled ADDICTED TO THE STARS, starring Daniel Craig, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2003. He has recently returned from Santiago de Chile where he directed the Chilean actor on stage in the South American version of Alessandro Baricco's NOVECENTO.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.

Michael Radford Facts

BirthdayFebruary 24, 1946 (78)
BirthplaceNew Delhi, India
Awards1996 BAFTA Awards: David Lean Award for Direction (for Il Postino)

Selected Filmography

Dancing At The Blue Iguana
Elsa & Fred
1984 / Crime and Punishment
Il Postino
The Merchant Of Venice
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
Existenz / B Monkey / Malevolent
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