Book Festival to Host Special Screening of The Go-Between

Event at ActOne Cinema will include Q&A with drama critic Michael Billington

Julie Christie in the Go-Between
Julie Christie in the Go-Between

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July 30, 2023

As a taster for September’s Chiswick Book Festival, there is to be a special screening of The Go-Between at the ActOne cinema on Acton High Street.

After the film has been shown on Wednesday 16 August, drama critic Michael Billington will take part in a Q&A session chaired by the festival’s director Torin Douglas.

The evening will launch this year’s Book Festival programme to Acton residents and the new Chiswick Writers Trail map, which features 36 notable writers who lived in Chiswick, including Harold Pinter who wrote the screenplay for the film.

The Go-Between stars Julie Christie and Alan Bates and won the Palme d’Or at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. Harold Pinter won a BAFTA for the screenplay and his biographer Michael Billington will discuss his contribution to the film

Torin Douglas said, “We know many Acton residents love the Chiswick Book Festival and we’ve had great support from the ActOne Cinema team. Last year we held our Michael Flanders evening there and this year we are previewing the Festival with an event to launch this year’s programme and celebrate Chiswick’s writers. I’m delighted that Michael Billington – also a Chiswick resident – has agreed to talk about Pinter and his screenwriting career, which is often overshadowed by his stage plays.”

Amanda Mason and Nick Jones, directors of the ActOneCinema said, “We are truly delighted to be working again this year with the Chiswick Book Festival to show this wonderful British movie. Pinter’s script for The Go-Between is deservedly celebrated and the introductory Q and A between Torin and Michael will bring fascinating colour and context to the screening.”

Harold Pinter is one of many notable writers who have lived in Chiswick. He wrote his iconic play The Caretaker whilst in a flat in Chiswick High Road in the early 1960s. As his career progressed Pinter became an acclaimed screenwriter as well as a dramatist - penning 27 screenplays during his lifetime. His adaptation of The Go-Between, based on the novel by L R Hartley, won him a BAFTA in 1972. It was one of three scripts that he wrote for the distinguished American director Joseph Losey - the other two being The Servant and Accident.

The Go-Between is a period drama set in and around a country house in Norfolk in 1900. Leo, played by Dominic Guard, a young boy staying with a rich school friend for the summer becomes a messenger between Marianne, Julie Christie’s part, the wealthy sister of his friend and Ted Burgess, played by Alan Bates, a local tenant farmer, who are conducting a clandestine affair. Leo becomes drawn into the plot which takes a darker turn when the affair is discovered.

Some have called The Go-Between Losey’s masterpiece as a director and Pinter’s screenplay is rated as one of his best described as intriguing, edgy and honest. It strips the class system and reveals what lies beneath whilst at the same time depicting a passionate romantic drama. Michel Legrand’s haunting score adds to the mix to make this a piece of work that many regard of the greatest British pictures of the era.

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