A Documentary by Paul Duane
Publisher: Screen Works, 2013
Expected : October 2013
Video running time: 74 mins
In the early ‘90s, writer John Healy was a star, on international TV, in the national press, constantly being interviewed about his first book, The Grass Arena. He wasn’t just another award-winning author though. He had a history of violence. And it seemed destined to follow him.
The son of Irish immigrants, Healy lived rough on the streets of London for 15 years, fighting and stealing to survive; a slave to alcohol. During a stint in prison he discovered chess which became his new addiction. He became a rated chess player and a famous writer, for a time the darling of the British media.
Then he disappeared. Stories emerged to fill the vacuum, dark stories; he’d made threats of awful violence towards his publishers, he was mentally il, he wasl a psychopath.
Barbaric Genius meets John as he’s about to make a comeback to the literary scene after nearly 20 years, launched once more on the world stage, with the likes of Irvine Welsh and Daniel Day-Lewis as his cheerleaders.
Having been savaged once by the media and the literary world, how will he deal with success second time round and the inevitable digging-up of his violent past that comes with it?
• Official Trailer
• Extended interview with Robert McCrum (former Editor in Chief at Faber & Faber, publishers of 'The Grass Arena'.)
“The fascinating tale of modern hellraiser, ‘Barbaric Genius’ proves that the spirit of Hemingway is alive and kicking.”
Peter Bradshaw – The Guardian:
“Paul Duane has created an enthralling documentary…Healy is a lonely, haunted, brilliant man… a gripping study.”
Mark Kermode, Radio 5 Live:
“John Healy’s an extraordinary character… a fascinating story… reminded me of Searching for Bobby Fischer.”
“John Healy has a story worth telling… an absorbing film.”
London Evening Standard:
"This documentary about author John Healy is a must-see if you like dark revisionist tales…”
“Fascinating documentary… his story deserves this sensitive telling.”
Philip French, The Observer:
“This documentary is fascinating.”
Matthew Sweet, BBC Radio 3:
“a compelling documentary”
Matthew Turner, ViewLondon:
“a fascinating and emotionally engaging documentary that’s by turns heart-breaking, sobering and inspirational.”