Oscar Directors: Radford, Michael–Il Postino (The Postman)

Radford was born on 24 February 1946, in New Delhi, India, to a British father and an Austrian Jewish mother. He was educated at Bedford School before attending Worcester College, Oxford. After teaching for few years, he attended the National Film and Television School

Between 1976 and 1982 Radford worked as a documentarian, mostly on projects for the BBC, on Scottish islanders on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides; The Last Stronghold of the Pure Gospel; the soprano Isobel Buchanan: La Belle Isobel; the singer songwriter Van Morrison: Van Morrison in Ireland; and The Making of The Pirates of Penzance.

Radford worked with the cinematographer Roger Deakins, who would later shoot two of Radford’s features: Nineteen Eighty-Four and White Mischief.

Another Time, Another Place, made in 1983, a feature film set in Scotland during World War II, centers on love story between a local woman and an Italian POW.

Radford achieved international attention with Nineteen Eighty-Four, his adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984, starring John Hurt as Winston Smith, and Richard Burton in his final performance. The film was made in the time and place–London, April–June 1984–of the original book.

Radford’s 1987 White Mischief, a period drama set in Kenya during the 1940s, was an adaptation of the novel of the same title by James Fox.

He is best known as the writer-director of the 1994 film Il Postino, adapted from the novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta, which for years was the largest grossing non-English language film ever made.

The film’s global success brought acclaim for Radford and the star Massimo Troisi, who died the day after shooting was completed (he was only 41).

The film won many awards including the ‘Best Film Not In The English Language’ BAFTA for Radford, who was also nominated for the Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

In 2000 Radford’s Dancing at the Blue Iguana was a largely improvised film, co-penned with David Linter.

Radford directed his first play in 2000, a West End production of The Seven Year Itch, an adaptation of Billy Wilder’s 1955 film starring Marilyn Monroe

In 2004, Radford directed The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as Antonio.

In 2007, he reunited Demi Moore and Michael Caine in Flawless, a heist story set in 1960.

His most recent film is Elsa & Fred, a romantic comedy starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer.

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Filmography

Van Morrison in Ireland (1980)  (documentary)

The White Bird Passes (1980) (TV)

Another Time, Another Place (1983)

Nineteen Eighty-Four(1984)

White Mischief (1988)

Il Postino (1994) 

B. Monkey (1998) 

Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002)

The Merchant of Venice (2004) 

Flawless (2007) 

Michel Petrucciani (2011) (documentary)

Hotel Lux (2011) 

La Mula (2012) 

Elsa & Fred (2014)