Film-maker Kevin Macdonald: ‘Oprah shaped America, but she’s unexamined’

The Oscar-winning director on his new real-life tale about a Guantánamo Bay detainee, his fears for the future of cinema, and turning the spotlight on OprahKevin Macdonald, a 53-year-old Scot, is a rare director equally at home in factual and feature films.

His documentaries have included 2018’s Whitney, the climbing epic Touching the Void and One Day in September, an account of the terrorist attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympics, which won an Oscar in 2000.

On the dramatic side, he has made 2006’s The Last King of Scotland and now The Mauritanian, which tells the story of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, an electrical engineer, played in the film by Tahar Rahim, who spent 14 years in Guantánamo Bay detention camp from 2002 to 2016 without ever being charged.When you were approached about making The Mauritanian, you weren’t sure it was right for you.

What changed?Very simply, I spoke to Mohamedou.

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