Includes guest introduction
The Grass Arena
A modern classic about an alcoholic vagrant who found redemption in prison through chess.
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Cast includes: Mark Rylance, Pete Postlethwaite
Introduced by Nicholas Johnson, John Healy’s publisher
96 Mins / 1992 / UK
Award-winning BBC adaptation, based on the bestselling autobiography by John Healy.
John Healy's powerful true story of his life and addiction became a bestselling autobiography. It was adapted in 1992 by the BBC into an award-winning Screen Two film.
Born in London to poor Irish parents, brutalised at home and hardened on the streets by the age of 7, John Healy is consumed by alcoholism as a teenager. A promising career as a boxer is destroyed by drink as he enters The Grass Arena, a savage community of vagrant alcoholics, ruled by psychopaths and peopled by beggars - who will do anything to quench their thirst. They have nothing to lose. Ending up in prison, he faces a certain death until a fellow inmate shows him how to play chess, for which he displays a natural instinct. One addiction is about to replace another.
Winner of the Michael Powell Award for Best Feature Film and the Grand Prix at the Dinard Film Festival in France. Starring, Mark Rylance, Pete Postlethwaite & Clive Russell.
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