Do you know David Puttnam?

Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2010 05:50 am
Formative Years

While I was turning my career to the teaching profession in the late 1960s, David Puttnam was turning his career to film production. In this world of burgeoning academic disciplines, cinema productions and, indeed, a myriad forms of the creative and performing arts, it has become impossible to be a member of the cognoscenti in all these artistic and scholarly forms and activities.

And so it was when David Puttnam appeared this afternoon on ABC1 TV here in Australia,1 I could not help but take note. He was an engaging person, interviewee, who had obviously achieved much in life. But I had never heard of him. Puttnam has been one of the world’s most influential producers since those late sixties. While I was having my heart and mind filled with students, with community work, with two marriages, with raising children, with mental health problems, with life in 20 towns and 20 houses across two continents, I just never came across this giant of the film world: David Puttnam. I found what he said sufficiently moving to write this prose-poem. -Ron Price with thanks to 1ABC1 TV, “Scene By Scene,” 4:30-5:30 p.m., 12 December 2010.

What a career you’ve had, David!
I could list your achievements in
this prose-poem, but I will leave
that to readers who want to know
about your life. You and I are….
contemporaries-similar influences
from post-war Western society….
but cinema got under your skin &
other things got under mine as we
went in different directions through
our young, middle and late adult life.

As you say, though, David, those late
teens and early twenties were the main
formative years for you and they were
for me, too….Set the direction for my
entire life and still do into the evening
of our lives, eh David? We could both
be around for another thirty years, eh??

And so now, at the age of 70, you are
going to try to build the world your
father was trying to build after WW2.1
Those were even earlier years, David,
your childhood years. And here I am,
a little younger than you by only three
years, trying to build the world that my
father way trying to build……His dear
legacy in a new Faith he joined in the
evening of his life, his last gasp before
night fell and carried him to that world,
that hole where men speak no more:
that gathering-place of splendours…..2

1 David Puttnam in interview on ABC1 TV, 12 December 2010.
2 ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1971, p. 103.

Ron Price
12 December 2010

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