Michael Radford was born on 24 February 1946, in New Delhi, India, to a British father and an Austrian Jewish mother. After teaching for a few years, he went to the National Film and Television School, becoming a student there in its inaugural year. Between 1976 and 1982, Radford worked as a documentary film maker, mostly on projects for the BBC. The debut of Michael Radford in the field of the feature film arrived with the notable early work ‘Another Time, Another Place’ (1983), a feature film set in Scotland during World War II and centred on a love story between a local woman and an Italian POW.
Radford came to international attention with ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, his adaptation of George Orwell's novel ‘1984’, starring John Hurt as Winston Smith, and in which Richard Burton gave his final film performance. The film was made in the time and place (London, April–June 1984) at which the book was set.
Radford's next film, released in 1987, was ‘White Mischief’, a period drama set in Kenya during the 1940s. Radford again wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of the novel by James Fox also called White Mischief.
Michael Radford is most widely known as the writer and director of the 1994 film ‘Il Postino: The Postman’, which Radford adapted from the novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta. The massive international success of the film (for many years it was the largest grossing non-English language film ever made) led to international acclaim for Radford and the star of the film Massimo Troisi. The film won many international film awards including the 'Best Film Not In The English Language’ BAFTA for Radford, who was also nominated for the Best Director and Adapted Screenplay Academy Awards.
In 2004, Radford directed ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (2004). He adapted the William Shakespeare play, and the film stars Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as Antonio. Two of his more recent films which we are including is the documentary on the extraordinary jazz pianist Michael Petrucciani (2011) and ‘Elsa & Fred’ (2014), a romantic comedy starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer. Suggested influences on his films include great masters such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir, Ermanno Olmi plus French and Czech New Wave. In this selective retrospective, we are showing an interesting variety of seven of his best films and delighted to welcome him to Chichester to introduce his most well-known film, ‘Il Postino’.