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Phillip Bergson


Writing about Films and Festivals.

 

Film Critic, UK, member of Fipresci

 

Winner of the Student Journalist of the Year competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by "The Sunday Times" as a 'New Critic' and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement", "TES", "Screen International", "Film Bulletin", "Film a Doba" inter alia, he also worked for the "European Script Fund", has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals. At the National Media Museum in his native Yorkshire, he created the "Eurovisions" project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema.

As a Jury Member

 


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Odd Man In

During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, in a milder English heatwave, the marvellous Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image, in the heart of London's Bloomsbury, celebrated one of the greatest English actors with a Focus on James Mason (26th May 2018).

In this most recently created institute, a part of the University of London, it takes over a splendid, purpose-built cinema, one of the few in the capital still capable of screening 35mm prints, and programmes some 70 film events a year, with academic content and intent, that are often open to general, public audiences.A teaching associate, Adrian Garvey, profiled James Mason as homme fatal, as an informative prelude to a rare screening - in a beautifully-restored 35mm print of The Reckless Moment- one of Max Ophuls's  early Hollywood films, a  stylish melodrama co-starring Joan Bennett and produced by the 'independent' Walrer Wanger. This was followed by a perceptive survey of Emotional and political collisions in Mason's later films, with clips and comments.

The event ended with a toast and the launch of her monograph James Mason,a BFI book in the series on stars and such now published by Palgrave. Like its subject it is a handsome and sleek, well-illustrated with atmospheric stills and elegant portraits, with a detailed Filmography, and essays by Sarah Thomas articulating the paradox of an essentially English actor and star, at odds with the UK establishment, re-establishing his career in New York and Hollywood but although he graced internationally-successful studio pictures such as A Star is Born and North by Northwest his seeming truculence and rebelliousness frequently surfaced and he retreated to Europe, etching nevertheless fine cameos in films as varied as The Fall of the Roman Empire and Italian giallo.

I met him during the shooting of The Shooting Party and found him charming, astute,and  witty, with none of the Northern bloody-mindedness for which he was famed, perhaps as we shared a Yorkshire heritage. His last role on film, it underlines his skill and grace and understanding as one of the finest actors in film England ever produced. This book loudly champions that.

 

Phillip Bergson

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