John Irvin

John Irvin – The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha (2005)

“Laughing Water – Mine Ha-Ha” is based on “Mine-Haha or Physical Education of Young Girls” by German author Frank Wedekind (Spring Awakening, Lulu, Pandora’s Vase). Thuringia, Germany, in the early 20th century. A group of young girls are brought up in a college withinh dark forests and gloomy lakes. Young Hidalla and her friends Irene, Vera, Blanka, Melusine and Rain are brought up in an isolated world: the girls don’t know anything about live outside the college’s high walls. At the age of 16, some of them start asking questions about their origins, their parents and the true purposes of the Headmistresses strict rules. When two of them disappear mysteriously, the initial fairytale atmosphere grows more and more eerie. Will the inspector from the nearby city discover the real purpose of the college? Will Hidalla be successful in her revolt against the destiny assigned to her by the Headmistress? Read More »

John Irvin – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

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Complete 7-part, 290-minute BBC miniseries plus BBC interview – John Le Carre – The Secret Centre

Complex but compelling, this miniseries is based upon one of John Le Carré’s greatest works and serves as a grand summing-up for the late Sir Alec Guinness, one of Britain’s greatest actors. Guinness literally is Smiley: Le Carré said that Guinness served as a template for the character’s cunning and mournful rectitude. In anyone else’s hands, Smiley might have seemed a blank and lifeless character, but Guinness’ matchless ability to play within a scene while seeming to think well beyond it is magnetic. Guinness was the great everyman and underplayer of the generation that gave us such great British Shakespearean actors as Olivier, Richardson, and Gielgud. He’s helped, too, by sharp dialogue lifted almost word-for-word from the book and terrific supporting performances (particularly an entirely silent but amazingly communicative Patrick Stewart, who has a cameo as Karla), which almost entirely obscure the fact that the miniseries largely consists of people sitting in rooms talking. It’s a literate treat that brings to life the gray morality and conflicting loyalties of the Cold War. Be advised: viewers can get lost in the intricate plot if they don’t pay close attention.
— Nick Sambides, Jr. Read More »