He fled the Nazis for a British boarding school – then made a shocking drama about segregation in the deep south. Michael Roemer
talks fate, family and sadistic governesses
The first time Michael Roemer
set foot in the American south, something pinged in his brain. He had never been there before; he grew up in Germany and Britain, but that day in segregated Alabama in the early 1960s, "I recognised everything. It was immediate. I said, 'Oh, I know this. I know what this feels like.'"
In the last 10 days, I have seen three films by Roemer: two documentaries and Nothing But a Man
, his first feature, shot in 1963. The documentaries – Dying, a short piece following three people in the last few months of their lives; and Cortile Cascino
, a study of a slum in Palermo, Sicily – are 40 years old and hard to get hold of. Nothing But a Man