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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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John Hurt has fond memories of holidays in the Lakes

The instantly recognisable voice of British actor John Hurt will fill the main house of Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake on Sunday when he takes part in the town’s annual film festival.

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LONG CAREER: Actor John Hurt is appearing at Keswick Film Festival

The award-winning actor will share his love of film and talk about his long, varied career during a question-and-answer session at Keswick Film Festival.

The four-day event kicked off last night with an opening party attended by Hurt, which was followed by a screening of In Love With Alma Cogan, produced by Hurt’s wife Anwen Rees-Myers.

He was invited to the festival after meeting its artistic director Ann Martin at the Dinard Film Festival in France.

He said: “I told her I would love to come to the Lake District again. I haven’t been there for such a long time and my wife has never been so we are having a bit of a holiday at the same time.

“I hiked all over the Lake District in the 50s with my brother Michael.

“We had family holidays in the Lake District. We used to camp on a farm near Patterdale.

“I have always loved it; it is always difficult to say what you like so much about something but I think it is because it is always exciting.

“It is not so big that it is daunting and you can walk round the corner and there is a whole new vista.”

Some of Hurt’s most memorable films include Midnight Express, The Elephant Man and Alien.

He has starred more recently in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Lost Skull, three Harry Potter films and the Oscar-nominated Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

This month he received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the Baftas.

“I was very moved,” he said. “It was completely unexpected.”

Since graduating from RADA in 1961, Hurt has won three best actor Baftas.

His roles in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man earned him Academy Award nominations.

Dissecting his work is more commonly the preserve of his fans. The man himself, now 72, said he was not inclined to peer through his past.

He added: “I tend to look forward rather than back, although you can’t help having a squint back now and then.

“I don’t think anybody ever does anything in life without looking at it and thinking ‘How could I have done it better?’, otherwise you’d be in a puddle of contentment.”

The festival will show a selection of his films, including Australian movie Lou in which Hurt plays an old sailor with Alzheimer’s Disease, short film Sailcloth which is tipped for an Oscar nomination and Lars von Trier’s end-of-the-world film Melancholia starring Kirsten Dunst.

Hurt’s portrayal of Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and, 34 years later, in An Englishman In New York will also be shown.

Hurt said: “The Naked Civil Servant was a watershed piece of television and it was the biggest break I had. Everyone needs a break and that was mine.”

The festival, run by Keswick Film Club, is in its 13th year and is supported by Lottery funding from Creative England.

Hurt said: “I am very in favour of festivals because it is good for all films and audiences as well, especially for somewhere a bit out of the way because audiences get to see films that they would otherwise have to travel quite far to see.”

Tickets are available by calling 017687 77441. A festival pass is £35 members/£45 non-members/£25 concessions; single screenings £4 members/£5 non-members/£3 concessions; student Saturday pass £10.

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