David l-lavman‘s SilentSeream. starring Iain Glen. Common Threads: tS‘lrtl'l(’S~/l‘()llf tlie Quilt. the

European Film Awards Nominations and Japanese film at the (il’l‘.


A Dry From

The Heart

Winner of the first Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the recent lidinburgh Film Festival. Silent Scream is the first major Scottish film of the decade. Trevor .lohnston talks to director David llavman about the disturbing true story of prisoner. poet and the late Larrv Winters. and his time in the Special Unit at Barlinnie.

‘\\ e lia\ e so iiian_\ preconceptions about the

ps_\ chi ipathie killer: So vou meet this guv with long dark hair. a w ispv goatee beard. who looks at _\ou through hooded e}cs and _\ott think ‘l’uck. l wouldii t like to meet him on a dark night?‘ But

once vou'se lost that baggage vou bring along vou

begin to realise he‘s a human being. a verv exceptional human being.‘ With these words l)a\ id I la} man recalls his initial impressions of l.arr_\ \‘vintcrs. the convicted murderer who was one of the initial inmates to be transferred to the Special [hit at Barlinnic l’rison. It was in those experimental confines w here difficult prisoners were first allowed to express their creativitv that llavman. then a noted voting actor with the Citizens 'l‘heatre. first met Winters in the midfitts.

At that time I lavinan visited Barlinnie on an almost w eeklv basis. holding acting workshops and doing public readingsof poems (including \Vinters‘ t and prose that the prisoners had written. and his subsequent career retains manv links with that period. llts ferocious performance as hard man turned sculptor .liminv Boyle. in John \che-iizie's milestone television film A Sense ()ll‘l't't’tlUNl. remains probava his best

i known small screen role. btit some seventeen vears after his path first crossed with that of Larrv


Winters. llavman has made a triumphal feature debut as director with Silent Scream. a passionate and audacious film based on the latter‘s life and writings.

‘He could be a v er_v intimidating man. He was mercurial. lle cottld be very funny. A very complex individual.‘ reflects I la} man. whose move into directing for the big screen is perhaps a natural development from a distinguished stage career t he worked with Martin Sheen on the London production of l ,arrv Kramer‘s [llt’ Normal Heart. for instance) and much activ it} behind the camera for television. including stints on the police soap llze lit/l. .-\dapted from Winters own long poem of the same name b_\ his former associate artist Bill Beech. The Silent Scream features a central performance of the highest order bv lain (ilen and is a highly successful attempt to get under the skin of this ‘complex individual.

Bringing sortie svmpathv to bear on a man whose personal demons drove him to strike out in fear. the film shows how someone w ho might perhaps have been a celebrated artist. unable to surmount his modest home surroundings and his inability to cope with the demands of stie‘tal convention. can spiral downwards into self—destructive violence. It asks whether societv in general and the penal s_\stein in particular has yet found a way to cope with the gifted. damaged few whose most serious crimes ma_v well be against themselves. ‘Yes. it‘s the stor} of one personf lain (ilen told me earlier this sear after winning the Silver Bear :\w ard at Berlin for compelling work in the film. ‘but Silent Scream can only have the effect we were all looking for if it‘s seen as an allegorv on the inoralitv of

confiiicinent.‘ 'l heinatiealh . the film offers noeasf. answers or

gltl‘ ttttlgetttcttls but It) add to the 'isstttetl performances. with Anne Kirsten trulv moving as the stoic matriarch .‘vir's \Vintea'santl with lonr \‘vatson‘s soulful features creating a haunting impression as the nitride ietl barium and confessoi figure. whats perhaps lllr ~st iiiipiessivc about the film is its unexpected illrl thrilling formal tle\lel'fl_\ ‘I felt the tloeiiiiieiitars aspect of it was limited and had been done bett lief e‘tplains l lasinaii. w ho eilll\ltleltflfl_‘. altered Bill Beech‘soriginalconceptiontolii‘inginoreol an emotional core to the protect. ‘but the mix of discit‘ilines we hav e in the filiii at the moment is much more exciting. \ chlc' got the dramatic elements with far I_\ going home to face his faiiiilv . the fantas}. stuff where the Memes in his past come back to life. tttltl even one or two nioinentsofaiiiination tt 1 bring rut the images in his heart. lo me that's much more tl} naiiiic‘.‘

lndecd it is. and w hile S'tletzt St ream is not the most docile of films toappioaeh it does offer much hope and eiit‘titiiagetiicnt for future screen production in Scotland. 1w show rug that huge financial resources are no substitute ft rr a clear conception of the inateiiaf a. hand and the ai‘tistrv to know how best to present it. See the llllll for lain ( ilen alone. l‘tli a second viewing t‘il.i_\ well serv e toeiiipliisise Silent St tettttfs richlv te\tttietl depth of liriiiianitv

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