London Film Festival 2012 – day four: Turned Towards The Sun
Tuesday 16th October, 9pm – NFT 3, BFI Southbank
Wednesday 17th October, 1.15pm – NFT 3, BFI Southbank
Already getting off to an impressive start with The Summit, we are now asked to focus our attention on one man who, at just shy of 100 years old at the start of filming, has led an extraordinary life. A life that American filmmaker Greg Olliver attempts to document and tell through this incredibly personal and eye-opening film on poet and writer Micky Burn MC aptly named Turned Towards The Sun after his autobiography of the same title.
Right from the word go the enormousness of the task becomes evident as the colourful and complex life of Micky is slowly unravelled. Describing himself as the “luckiest man he knows”, his illustrious career began as a journalist for The Times newspaper before serving as a commando in World War II where he became instrumental in the raid on St Nazaire, a heavily defended dry dock on the north-western coast of France. His tales of having a casual encounter with Adolf Hitler, being a prisoner in the infamous Colditz camp for POWs and claiming (rightly) to have saved Audrey Hepburn’s life, are nothing short of extraordinary.
Here, Olliver (director of LEMMY) spends time with Burn during the last stages of life, attempting to capture who the real Micky Burn is. From his quiet home in rural Wales to the high walls of Colditz, we follow Burn as his surprisingly detailed memory recounts stories of his liaisons with the Royal Family right through to his complex sexuality. Olliver leaves no stone unturned. If on nothing else, the film is carried largely by Burn’s endearing personality and the ability to be instantly charming without meaning to.
Turned Towards The Sun is a fascinating watch for any lover of film and documentary. Olliver makes the story easy to follow and I was completely gripped for the entire duration of the film. All that is left is to give a heart-warming thank you to the family of Micky Burn for allowing such a captivating life to be brought to the big screen.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.