One of the great highlights of the Company of Wolves conference in September is going to be Sir Christopher Frayling’s keynote talk on Angela Carter which coincides with the publication of his new book Inside the Bloody Chamber. This will be the closing plenary and it will partly be based on his memories of Carter and their shared interest in film. Carter kept a film diary where she recorded all the films that had most inspired her (many of which she saw with Sir Chris). I just can’t wait to hear more about their discussions . I’ve always been a huge fan of Sir Chris and have been lucky enough to work with him on a couple of occasions. Below is an account of an interview I published with him for a project called Misdirect Movies which explored artists and writers who had been inspired by film. Much of the interview focuses on the cross overs between film, literature and the visual arts so it seems apt to post the link here to act as a kind of preview to Sir Chris on Carter at the conference (only five or so weeks to go)
Arriving at the British Library I loiter by the Bill Woodrow’s bronze sculpture of a book on a ball and chain, such a wonderfully fraught image, and look at my notes. I’m here to interview Sir Christopher Frayling, educationalist, writer, broadcaster, commentator and Governor of the British Film Institute. In relation to Misdirect Movies serendipity has already played a part, Don Quixote is his favourite novel, and he’s always celebrated the relationship between film and the visual arts in his own work. I’ve been a fan of his since the TV series The Face of Tutankhamun1 and the publication of his seminal work on vampires. Frayling was the first to invite vampires into the academy and the rigour, imagination, and sheer scope of his research can be seen to have initiated the critical study of vampire texts. Awaiting his arrival, I begin to wonder what made him such a polymath, a champion of disreputable genres (vampire literature, Hammer horror, the spaghetti western), and defender of low brow culture, and what unites his many projects (the visualisation of the Gothic, the scientist and the cinema, Fu Man Chu, to name a few). Our paths had crossed before in connection to the ‘Open Graves, Open Minds’ project and we had shared some thoughts on Enlightenment philosophy, particularly Rousseau. He had told me the story of his adventures in Paris in 1968 (the myth goes that the Sorbonne was closed when he got there, and he was shouting ‘Why can’t you open the bloody library, I’m trying to study the French Revolution’ while they were overturning cars in the street outside). Given this, his appointment as Professor of Cultural History at the Royal College of Art and his knighthood for services to art education (he eventually became Rector of the RCA, a Trustee of the V&A and Chairman of the Art’s Council), the philosophy of the RCA seemed a good place to start…..
You can read the full published interview here Sam-George-and-Christopher-Frayling
And explore the Misdirect Movies book