Saturday, 1 December 2012

Don McCullin

This week I had the privilege of hearing Don McCullin in conversation with Alan Yentob at a preview screening of David and Jacqui Morris's documentary on the photographer, held at the Curzon cinema Soho.


In short, it is a remarkable film. McCullin's astonishing images are arresting, intense, shocking, and often searing.  I had to flinch away from the screen a number of times - he does not pull punches. The film inevitably draws comparisons with the Christian Frei documentary on James Nachtwey (trailer here). 'McCullin' also doubles as a history of warfare over the last 60 years however, and the parallels and insights he draws out of his innumerable experiences, coupled with his brutal honesty in laying bare his 'addiction' to war in the years he became a 'war junkie' are utterly compelling. This is of course very tough viewing, but incredibly powerful.

There are a few moments of relative levity though - particularly when the film turns to McCullin's fantastic series of street photographs in and around London, and the colourful characters he has encountered.

The film will be on limited release from January, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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