“Hope and Glory,” John Boorman’s most personal film, a revisiting of his childhood in World War II London during the blitz, had its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival in 1987. His latest (and reportedly his last), “Queen and Country,” Film Comment presents, a Special Event of NYFF52, screens on Tuesday, October 7 at 9:15 pm.
The great (and versatile) director’s new film catches up with his alter ego, Bill Rohan (Callum Turner), now 18 and beginning his mandatory service in the British army. It’s 1952 and Bill’s coming of age–coinciding with the decline of the empire–is a series of firsts: cigarette (inadvertently strawberry-flavored), love (unrequited), independence.
I photographed John Boorman for the first time when he was in New York for NYFF25. We shot in the early evening in a suite at the Sherry Netherland. As we were getting started, a producer arrived in a whirl with an early edition of the next day’s New York Times (hard to remember the pre-internet world when news wasn’t 24/7) and read aloud Janet Maslin’s rave review of “Hope and Glory.”