disastrous marriage in Europe. Captivated by Ellen’s beauty, but trapped by social-convention and hypocrisies, Archer’s love must be repressed if the balance of his life is to be maintained.
‘When Archer ﬁrst meets Ellen,’ Day-Lewis explains, ‘it’s true that he’s a man who is very comfortable within the restrictions of that society. At the same time, he is reaching, in his own way, beyond it; he’s trying to cross the borderline to some greater understanding. It’s not the fact that she’s unattainable that makes her attractive . . . he’s not trying to work out what it is about her, he’s just involuntarily drawn towards this woman. But i do think part of it has to do with the fact that she appears to be the embodiment of this notion of a liberal world that exists beyond the borders of his own society. There is something tremendously exotic about her from that point of view. What he doesn’t realise — and what she’s really much cannier about — is that the world he would like to believe in, the world where words like “mistress’” don’t exist, is a world that she knows just doesn’t exist.’
Like his character, Day-Lewis is also ‘trying to cross the borderline to some greater understanding’, although, in his case, he is struggling to deﬁne the force that drives his art to often extreme measures. But with the on-screen results continuing to impress audiences and critics alike, analysis of the means counts less than appreciation of the end. U
Age Of Innocence opens across Scotland on February 18. In The Name Of The Father will open on February I I.
‘lt’s not the fact that she’s unattainable that makes her attractive. . . he’s not trying _ to work out what it is about her, he’sjust involuntarily drawn towards this woman.’ - Daniel Day-Lewisonhis character’s fascinationwithMichelie Pfeiffer’s. 3
Time out tor a bit oi beard scratching and
not only French New Wavers or Italian Neo- Realists, but also archive British ﬁlms as formative influences. As a longtime admirer of the work of Powell and Pressburger. he has lent his support to the restoration efforts of Thelma Schoonmaker, his long-time editor and Michael Powell’s widow. It should come as no surprise, then, that although the lead female roles are played by American actresses Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder, the rest of the cast is peppered with British faces — Daniel Day- Lewis, Richard E. Grant, Miriam Margolyes, Geraldine Chaplin, Alec McCowen — all of whom lend a certain theatrical authority to the American gloss.
‘Coming from a working-class family, my parents didn’t read books,’ he remembers, ‘but we did get a television in the late 403, and on a
8 The List 28 January—10 February I994
chat with De ﬁlm on the set for Goodiellas (1990)
black-and-white sixteen-inch screen 1 saw many of the ﬁlms of Alexander Korda. I got to know actors like Roland Young, Ralph Richardson. John Gielgud, and. later on, John Mills and Alec Guinness. British cinema has been a great inspiration and a major part of my life. It was very interesting in the early 50s to have, on one side. Brando. James Dean and Montgomery Clift. and on the other, Olivier and Guinness and Jack Hawkins — admiring all the styles and trying someday to see if I could combine certain elements of them.’
That combination has found its place in The Age Of Innocence, which should make Scorsese a frontrunner for an Oscar — and. given the delight the Academy has taken in recent years in honouring British achievements, the Anglicisation of Scorsese’s ﬁlm shouldn’t do it
any harm. However, disappointment may well 3 crease the brow of the 51~year—old New Yorker . as he enters a head-to-head with equally passed- over peer Steven Spielberg and Schindler ’s List. lronic, really, considering that the two are part of the same group of ﬁlm school graduate directors, the so-called ‘movie brats’ — Francis Coppola, Brian De Palma, Paul Schrader. George Lucas. John Milius — whose influence came to the fore in the 19703. Perhaps Scorsese. like his British idol Michael Powell, is doomed to be appreciated abroad rather than on home soil.
’Yeah, I got the Grand Prix in Cannes in 1976 for Taxi Driver.’ he agrees, ‘but it allowed me to fail on New York, New York. I failed good and early, so I could learn from that bad lick. l regrouped after having the plug pulled on The Last Temptation Of Christ [which he finally completed amid religious uproar in 1988]. Not being able to get ﬁnance, I started all over again by making a low budget film called After Hours. Then I made a Hollywood ﬁlm, The Colour ()f Money, to show that I could be trusted with budgets and schedules and that sort of thing. Quite honestly, what I didn’t expect was that Goodfellas made money and Cape Fear made some money too. That means something: it enables me to get, not only the next picture, but a few extra shooting days. it allows me to make The Age Of Innocence, basically.’
Fine. but what about that elusive Director’s Oscar? :
‘There’s no prize that’s going to make me feel 1 better about myself,’ he reﬂects. ‘But if] didn‘t get it for those pictures, God knows, what am I going to get it for? What more do they want to know‘?’ C]