Cultural Life: John Maybury, Film Director

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The Independent Culture

I've got an obsession with silent cinema. And there are directors working today whom I genuinely admire. My favourite is Gasper Noé, the French director, who made Seul Contre Tous and Irréversible. The box set of Erich von Stroheim's movies are astonishing.

I'm re-reading The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa. He is fantastic and funny and tragic and melancholy all at once. Mary Butt is an English writer from the 1920s and 1930s. Her most famous book is called Armed with Madness. She is a sensation – a secret luxury. Another favourite is the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk who wrote My Name is Red; all his books are beautiful.

There is a fantastic record by Ali Love called K Hole that I highly recommend. It is electronic rockabilly I suppose, sort of Hoxton wide-boy, and it is very funny. I buy everything. My current favourites are the self-titled debut album by Canadian punk electronica group Crystal Castles, Bon Iver's gorgeous album For Emma, Forever Ago, and MGMT's Oracular Spectacular. My iPod has got about 14,000 tracks on it.

I try not to go to the theatre because to me it's people wearing too much make-up, shouting at each other and I get plenty of that at home. I do go on occasion when a casting director makes me go to see an actor or actress. I always want to change channel. I'm more interested in contemporary dance; I'd go and see Carlos Acosta whenever he dances.

Visual arts
The Cy Twombly exhibition at Tate Modern is magnificent. People like Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, and Tracey Emin have been friends and acquaintances of mine for a long time. Most of them were extras in my film Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon. I consider the British Museum, which is just round the corner from where I live, my personal gallery.

John Maybury's 'The Edge of Love' is on general release now