Politics & Film
In post-9/11 America, the big Hollywood studios are more timid than ever. They don’t want to offend Washington upon whom their parent conglomerates depend for tax breaks and licenses. A case in point is The Quiet American. It was set for release but the studio held it back. Why? Because the film, based on Graham Greene’s perceptive and evocative novel, depicts the U.S. sponsoring terrorism in Vietnam in the 1950s. It was only when the lead actor, Michael Caine, raised a huge stink, that it was finally shown. But it was not promoted and quickly disappeared. Another case of Tinseltown jitters was Disney’s refusal to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11. A Canadian distributor picked it up and the film went on to create box office history.
Interview by David Barsamian.
John Sayles is perhaps America’s most celebrated independent filmmaker. Among his classics are Matewan, Eight Men Out, and Lone Star. His latest film, Silver City received a “Two Thumbs Way Up!” review from Roger Ebert.