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UK, 1998 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: John Maybury

Love is the Devil recounts the turbulent relationship between controversial British artist Francis Bacon and his lover, George Dyer. Their first volatile meeting - when Dyer attempted to burgle Bacon's house! - sets the tone as the two become both artistically and intimately entwined. As Bacon's bohemian coterie of artists, rent boys and drunks compete for his attention, Dyer is gradually bled dry by alcohol and drugs.

The film is atypical of the conventional biography. British filmmaker John Maybury spent a year and a half researching Bacon's life, talking extensively with the people who knew him. The result is a deeply personal interpretation. Maybury has made a film which is at once accessible and confronting. The unsettling score by Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto combined with often surreal effects, allude to the danger and disorientation of Bacon's paintings. Derek Jacobi uses a fulI spectrum of facial expressions in addition to dialogue to embrace the complexity and intensity of Bacon. Tilda Swinton is outstanding in her comically coarse portrayal of confidant Muriel Belcher.

"I wanted lo create atmosphere, not historical detail. What interests me most about Bacon's life are the paintings of Dyer. The dynamic between an artist and a muse and the choices that an artist has to make between his work and his private life. There is a tenderness and sensitivity in (Bacon's paintings of Dyer) which completely belies the tags that are always attached to Bacon - the existential angst, grief and horror. I see the hand of a lover caressing a lover." - John Maybury

John Maybury is a guest of the Festival

John Maybury began shooting his first films in and around London's 70s punk scene, and has directed video clips for Neneh Cherry, Morrissey and Sinead O'Connor. Man to Man, his first feature film in 1992, starred Tilda Swinton and won the International Critics Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Rememberance of Things Fast (1993) won the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award for Best Independent/Experimental Film.

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