Puttnam's farewell to the film industry

David Puttnam will bring down the curtain on an era in British film making with tonight's London premiÿre of My Life So Far.

The opening of Lord Puttnam's last film will be attended by a celebrity audience, including a heavily pregnant Cherie Blair and the stars of the film, Colin Firth and Malcolm McDowell.

The movie reunites Puttnam as producer with the director Hugh Hudson, the Oscar-winning team that made Chariots of Fire in 1981.

Hudson said yesterday: "David insists this is his last film. He is busy and content as a working peer. I feel very sad about it. David has been seminal to the British film industry over the last 25 years. He gave me, Alan Parker, Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne our first films. So he can spot 'em.

"I will do my utmost to persuade him to change his mind, though I don't think I will succeed. Making this film with him was the most joyful working experience of my life. In Hollywood, now, you're just a product supplier. You don't have fun any more. But this was a very British film, and a very personal film for us."

My Life So Far is the tale of a young boy's coming of age in an eccentric Scottish household in the 1920s. It reveals the comedy and poignancy under the surface of an entire family in crisis as established relationships are threatened by the arrival of an enchanting outsider.

The spell of childhood is broken for 10-year-old Fraser Pettigrew when he is forced to look at this family, particularly his father, through newly adult eyes.

The film's screenplay, by Simon Donald, is based on part of Sir Denis Forman's autobiography, Son of Adam. Sir Denis, who became head of Granada, approved the concept for the film.

Filmed entirely on location in the west Highlands of Scotland, the film was financed by Miramax Films and the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund.

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