Mere fact, mere fiction: David Hare on journalism and art

Asked by a Sunday newspaper to name the best British film of the last 25 years, Sir David Hare suggested The Power of Nightmares. Adam Curtis’s BBC documentary series about how Western politicians have, for reasons of their own, talked up a war on terror. But why, he wondered, did his mind go unhesitatingly to a documentary rather than a fiction? At a time when Hare’s own plays – about the diplomatic process leading up the Iraq war, about Labour Party funding, about the privatisation of the railways, and about the financial crisis – have employed such a dizzying mix of reportage and invention, how does he answer sceptics who believe in the old forms? In this lecture David Hare contrasts a journalistic view of life and an artistic one.

We are grateful to the Garrick Charitable Trust for sponsoring this lecture.

Recorded on Monday 12 April 2010.

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