This biographical documentary (which was shown at this year’s BFI London Film Festival) explores the extraordinary life of Micky Burn, an English poet with a thousand fascinating stories to tell. ‘Turned Towards the Sun’ follows the 97-year-old war veteran as he re-examines his past, travelling between Wales, France and Germany to reflect on the multitude of achievements he has made over the years.
People like Micky Burn don’t really exist these days. Born two years before the start of the First World War he is part of a generation of men and women, many of whom are sadly no longer with us, who lived through some of the most challenging periods in modern British history, and did it with a stiff upper lip.
Yet from the outset of the film it is clear that Micky is also a truly exceptional individual, full of charisma and charm, wonderfully prim and proper, yet far from antiquated.
Micky is particularly unique coming from an upper-class family with strong links to British Royal family. It was this privileged social status that enabled him to receive a first-class public school education, going on to study at Oxford where he met (and had a brief affair with) the man who would go on to become the notorious double agent Guy Burgess.
His connections with the aristocratic British families also led him to a chance meeting with Adolf Hitler through his friend Unity Mitford in 1936. Micky also attended the Nuremberg Rally, which he said was a terrifying experience. Indeed, he reflects on meeting with Hitler as a great embarrassment. At the time he was determined to speak to the controversial leader, but he says, now he very much regrets ever having gone and spoken to him.
‘Turned Towards the Sun’ is the result of a request made by Micky’s friends and family who asked filmmaker Greg Olliver to feature him as the subject of an biographical documentary. Subsequently, the film is very much a celebration of Micky’s life, choosing not to dwell too deeply the more unsatisfactory moments in his life.
This piece was originally written for Docgeeks. Read the full article here.