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Roland Joffé: Wikis


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Roland Joffé
Born November 17, 1945 (1945-11-17) (age 64)

Roland Joffé (born November 17, 1945) is a British film director who is known for his Oscar nominated movies, The Killing Fields and The Mission. He began his career in television. His early television credits included episodes of Coronation Street and an adaptation of The Stars Look Down for Granada. He gained a reputation for hard-hitting political stories with the series Bill Brand and factual dramas for Play for Today.



Joffe was educated at two independent schools: the Lycee Francais in London, and Carmel College in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, which was Europe's only Jewish boarding school, until it closed in 1997. He completed his formal education at the University of Manchester.


BBC/MI5 Blacklisting

In the early 1970s, Joffé had attended Workers’ Revolutionary Party meetings, but he never became a party member, and by 1977 he had long severed his association with it: “I was very interested in politics at that time. But I was interested in what all the political parties were doing, not just the WRP, and I was never actively involved.”[1]

In 1977, Joffé was commissioned by the BBC to direct a play The Spongers. However, Joffé had been blacklisted: The play's producer, Tony Garnett, was informed that MI5 files listed Joffé as a “security risk” due to his left wing views. Only after Garnett threatened he would “go public”, was the veto on Joffé's appointment withdrawn. Joffé’s play The Spongers went on to do very well, winning a prestigious Prix Italia award.[1]


His first two feature films (The Killing Fields, 1984, and The Mission, 1986) each garnered him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Joffé worked closely with producer David Puttnam on each film. The Killing Fields detailed the friendship of two men, an American journalist for the New York Times, and his translator, a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge in Communist Cambodia. It won three Academy Awards (for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing) and was nominated for four more (including Best Picture and Best Director). The Mission was a story of conflict between Jesuit missionaries in South America, trying to convert the Guaraní Indians, and Portuguese colonials, who want to enslave the natives. It won the Palme d'Or and Technical Grand Jury Prize at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. The film achieved six Academy Awards nominations – including for Best Picture, Best Director, and Ennio Morricone's acclaimed Best Original Score – and won one, for Best Cinematography.

Since his initial acclaim, Joffé's film career has been less successful. In 1993, he produced and partially directed a big budget adaptation of the video game Super Mario Bros.. The film struggled to make back its budget. His 1995 adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was a critical and financial disaster, and his 2007 horror film Captivity drew controversy with its advertising billboards, perceived as exploitative and misogynistic. He received Razzie Nominations for Worst Director for The Scarlett Letter and Captivity.

His next project, There Be Dragons, has already garnered press attention as it deals with the Catholic organisation, Opus Dei.[2][3]


Joffé is the son of Marc Joffe (born in Riga) and so is not related to the French film director Arthur Joffé as often wrongly stated.

Joffé's adopted grandfather was the renowned sculptor Jacob Epstein. Joffé was formerly married to the actresses Jane Lapotaire and Cherie Lunghi. He has a son, Rowan Joffé, with the former and a daughter, Nathalie Lunghi, with the latter. He is a board member of the nonprofit organization Operation USA.


As director:


  1. ^ a b Mark Hollingsworth; Richard Norton-Taylor (1988), "MI5 and the BBC – Stamping the 'Christmas Tree' files", Blacklist: The Inside Story of Political Vetting, London: Hogarth Press, p. 104, ISBN 0701208112 (pbk.),  /
  2. ^ Roland Joffé's new film Mission: to uncover secrets of the Opus Dei The Guardian. 8 June 2009
  3. ^ Bringing a Saint’s Life to the Screen The New York Times. 22 August 2009

External links

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