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SILENT SCREAM

UK, 1989 (MIFF 1990)

Director: David Hayman

BRITISH FILMS based on literary texts and prison-bound dramas are familiar items on the filmgoer's agenda. Yet Silent Scream, a British film based around the true life and writings of Larry Winters and largely set in the prison where he died, doesn't quite conform to expectations of either filmic tradition.

After killing a Soho barman, apparently without motive, Winters was committed for life in a Scottish prison, where he became addicted to drugs. Transferred to Barlinnie's 'Special Unit', he was taken off drugs and encouraged to express himself through poetry and music. The film takes its title from a poem Winters wrote during the East years of his life in which he reflects upon a troubled and violent boyhood in Glasgow, the temporary happiness he found in the Highlands and his move to England to join the Parachute Regiment. It was when he tried to return to the Highlands that the tragic shooting took place.

The film's narrative is neither linear nor chronological; rather, it is created from a series of episodes, some of them memories, seen through Winters's and his mother's eyes. The subjective nature of his writings, which eerily predict his own death, provides a linking device to a scattering of memories, from his arrival in prison to his first day out of prison in 13 years.

Silent Scream, which had its premiere in the Competition of the 1990 Berlin Film Festival (iain Glen won a Silver Bear for his lead role), marks a feature film debut for director David Hayman, who has directed numerous stage and television productions and played film roles such as that of Malcolm McLaren in Sid and Nancy, Jimmy Boyle in A Sense of Freedom and Clive in Hope and Glory. - (PKa)

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