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He's drily affectionate toward other actors, including Bob Hoskins, who " never] quite saw the point of iambic pentameter". Cinema embraces Postlethwaite after a devastating performance as the brutal patriarch in Distant Voices, Still Lives. The studio wanted Michael Caine or Sean Connery to play the proud father jailed alongside his son, but Postlethwaite, who had campaigned against the imprisonment of the Guildford Four, said he needed the role more, and proved it by staying in character for a three-and-a-half-hour meeting with the director.

The opening analysis of how his King Lear at the Everyman went awry serves notice that luvvie gushing will be thin on the ground. One of the understandable distractions in that production came from Postlethwaite's discovery during rehearsals that he had cancer.

Indeed, the most memorable thing about A Spectacle of Dust is its poignant sense of time running out, as its author becomes all too aware that "the shadows are lengthening". The closing chapter is deeply wrenching, with Postlethwaite distributing the last of his love, time and energy among the family and friends who surround him: Jul 18, Delia rated it it was amazing.

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Pete Postlethwaite was a one-off, a loving, generous, decent man who realised in his teens that "acting" is not a frivolous pursuit. Done in the right spirit, acting is Art - a way to open our lenses of perception beyond superficial interactions with each other. The Art in acting is to reveal us to ourselves at one remove so that we see our deepest secrets writ large on the stage of life. When acting is Art we are changed by it, by deeply witnessing it and letting our hidden selves connect with Pete Postlethwaite was a one-off, a loving, generous, decent man who realised in his teens that "acting" is not a frivolous pursuit.

When acting is Art we are changed by it, by deeply witnessing it and letting our hidden selves connect with the profound revelations the actor offers us. Pete was born for that, for drama and comedy in the classical sense, to probe the deepest recesses of human motive, delusion, dis-illusion, and to choose transformation - however painful - over dissolution of the Self. Art offers us the opportunity to stop short of creating tragedy, to resolve conflicts rather than pursue them to satisfy the needs of the Ego to "triumph".

Indeed, Art in acting leads us to the inescapable conclusion that there is no genuine "triumph" in abusing power over others. Triumph is about choosing our better nature over the alternatives.


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Pete Postlethwaite lived for those moments on stage when through acting - silently or in the words of great playwrights -he experienced the struggle with what Jung called our Daimon, the shadow self that is capable of all things including the basest evil. But Postlethwaite was not a one-dimensional actor; he explored every nook of the human psyche including moments of high comedy, low comedy, irony, and outright farce as well.

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He was an "actor's actor", an Artist to the manor born. His autobiography is achingly funny and sad by turns. His self-portrayals brutally frank but also accepting of his limitations few though they were in my estimation as part of the deal we all make when we agree to live a human life.

Pete was aware that life is choice, always choice, and false contraints like those imposed by religion or rigid systems of any kind are designed to eliminate choice in favour of obedience.

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But we cannot abdicate choice, ever. Even refusing to choose is a choice.


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  • Pete chose Art as a way of life. He also chose love and family and those were his anchors, what kept him real when he stepped off-stage or the cameras shut down. Pete was extraordinary in the way truly good people are: Cancer took his body in the end but no one took his spirit from us. Apr 21, Tracy Smith rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the autobiography of the British actor whom Steven Spielberg called "the best actor in the world". Nominated for an Oscar for his powerful performance in the movie "In the Name of the Father", Pete Postlethwaite, who died earlier this year, was a well-respected veteran of the stage, TV, and movies.

    The book focuses mainly on his career, full of interesting anecdotes about his development as an actor, and of the projects and people he worked with.

    A Spectacle of Dust by Pete Postlethwaite

    It is an unfailingly honest story, where h This is the autobiography of the British actor whom Steven Spielberg called "the best actor in the world". It is an unfailingly honest story, where he presents his foibles in an unapologetic, matter of fact way, as well as his strengths and achievements. His passion for acting and the deep love he had for his family and friends make this book shine, as well as his utter lack of arrogance. He was a man who never forgot where he came from and was always a regular, down-to-earth guy. The last chapter, where he tells the story of his final days bravely battling terminal cancer and taking stock of his life, when he was no longer able to pursue his life's work and ends scant weeks before his death, brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.

    This was when I watched him playing the role of Obadiah Hakeswill in the Sharpe films that I'd borrowed from the library. These had been recommended to me by someone who thought I'd enjoy watching Sean Bean. I did like Sean, but it was Pete who stole the show and immediately grabbed my attention -- and sent me looking for other movies of his to watch. It wasn't long before I knew that Steven Spielberg had spoken the truth in his assessment of Pete. It was fairly obvious in some passages that this book was written and organized in a hurry.

    But that is perfectly understandable because Pete knew he was dying and that the clock was winding down on him as he wrote this book. This, perhaps, makes the book even more poignant than if he'd had the time to work on it in his leisure and had been able to include more details. I recommend this book highly. Apr 08, Sharon rated it liked it Shelves: Pete Postlethwaite was one of my favourite actors and it was a sad and real loss to the acting world when he passed away in early at the age of only I read Pete's autobiography for some reason sort of back to front, not a thing I normally do!

    I don't know if it was because I ended up with the large print edition from the library that had very dark print or it was just the way it was written, but I found the beginning chapters a bit of a chore, whereas I really enjoyed the second half of Pete Postlethwaite was one of my favourite actors and it was a sad and real loss to the acting world when he passed away in early at the age of only I don't know if it was because I ended up with the large print edition from the library that had very dark print or it was just the way it was written, but I found the beginning chapters a bit of a chore, whereas I really enjoyed the second half of the book.

    The final chapter is sad to read, knowing that Pete died a short time after completing the book.

    Review: Autobiography Pete Postlethwaite: A Spectacle of Dust

    He wrote that he intended to live long enough to see his 65th birthday in February but sadly that didn't happen, passing away from pancreatic cancer on the 2nd of January. Jan 23, Crystal Clark rated it really liked it. He always considered himself to be a 'jobbing actor' at heart with no real interest in money or the trappings of fame.

    Mar 16, Matthew Ogborn rated it really liked it. The best autobiographies delve deep into a character's soul, giving us hidden and illuminating insights. Pete Postlethwaite was a fine actor and gregarious man. He wasn't perfect, though, and he was the first to admit it. Passionate and difficult, at times, he wanted to challenge himself at every turn. For that we should be grateful as evidenced by his stellar career and love for those close to him.

    I've long been a fan of this - in my opinion - underrated actor, so when I saw this autobiography on the returns trolley at the library, I knew I had to check it out. The account is honest and open. Postlethwaite tells it like it is - warts and all - which is the essence of who he was. A fascinating and moving read. Pete was taken from us too soon. Apr 04, Margaret rated it really liked it Shelves: He Played the Father in Distant voices very well which was an unusual part for him especially after Brassed off.

    What a pity he died so young at Who knows what more he might have achieved. Oct 31, Jill rated it did not like it Shelves: Sorry but I abandoned this, it is just boring.