J.G. Ballard takes a new look at the films of Michael Powell on the centenary of his birth.
I think of Powell as a prophet whose films offer important lessons to both film-makers and novelists, especially the latter, who are still preoccupied with character and individual moral choice. My guess is that the serious novel of the future will be serious in the way that Powell’s and Hitchcock’s films are serious, where the psychological drama has migrated from inside the characters’ heads to the world around them. This is true to everyday life, where we know little about the real nature of the people around us, and less about ourselves than we think, but are highly sensitive to the surrounding atmosphere.