Michael Powell: “Art is all that matters”

“Art is all that matters.” In living up to that dictum, the visionary British director Michael Powell made movies like no one else. With his Hungarian screenwriting partner Emeric Pressburger, he made fantasy seem real and reality seem fanciful, whether turning a British backlot into the Himalayas (Black Narcissus) or staging a courtroom trial in heaven (A Matter of Life and Death).

It was a thrill to chat with Powell in Chicago back in 1986, when he was in town working on his memoirs while his wife, the great film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, worked on his friend Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money. I’ll never forget our lunch at the late and lamented Nuevo Leon down on 18th Street – a festival of accents!

Hear my interview with Powell on the latest episode of Sachs and the Cinema, accessible via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other platforms. And subscribe to the podcast here.

Moira Shearer in Powell’s The Red Shoes
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