Bill Forsyth: “I think it’s quite helpful being illiterate as a filmmaker.”

When Bill Forsyth was turning out gems in the 1980’s, first quirky Scottish films like Local Hero and then offbeat Hollywood productions like the Burt Reynolds vehicle Breaking In, we had reason to look forward to him enjoying a long and successful career.

Things didn’t work out that way, alas. In spite of strong reviews for Breaking In and Housekeeping, commercial success eluded him in America. And then his cosmic Robin Williams drama Being Human was universally panned – after which, save for a so-so sequel to Gregory’s Girl, his “marvelously cockeyed” coming of age comedy as one critic described it, he largely disappeared from the scene.

But when I spoke to Forsyth in Chicago in 1981, he was riding a wave of enthusiasm for “Gregory’s Girl,” which was just out. In our chat, he talks about how he went from school dropout to filmmaker, the lessons he learned from the French New Wave – and his hopes for the future. Listen to the conversation on the latest episode of Sachs and the Cinema via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other platforms. And sign up for the podcast here.

Burt Lancaster talking to Peter Riegert in Local Hero

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