American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
but he had in mind a different kind of family film from what he calls "that cutesy-poo stuff from Disney."
"I wanted to make movies in which the central characters were interesting people who just happened to be kids," he said during a Chicago visit last week. "When Mark Twain or J. D. Salinger sat down to write they weren't intending to write kid books; they were writing good books about kids."
Radnitz has produced a lot of movies that meet his qualifications, since his 1960 debut with "A Dog of Flanders." There were movies like his "Island of the Blue Dolphins," "My Side of the Mountain" and then, in 1972, a breakthrough with "Sounder," the story of a black sharecropper family which was nominated for an Oscar as the year's best film.
Radnitz has returned to the South for the setting of his latest film, "Where the Lilies Bloom," which was shot on location near Boone, NC, and tells the story of a family of four children who try to stay together after their parents die. Afraid of being packed away to the county orphanage, they keep their father's death a secret and support themselves by gathering and selling roots, herbs and flowers from the hills. (The film is at six outlying theaters.)