November 16-25 2007
Cinema, politics, art and the collective conscience were some of the topics that Danny Glover, famous American actor, director and producer spoke about in his masterclass on Saturday, November 24th at the John Cassavetes theatre. Attending the masterclass were John Sayles with his companion and producer, Maggie Renzi.
Despina Mouzaki, the Director of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, introduced Danny Glover by saying: “From Lethal Weapon to Beloved, Danny Glover’s performances have been decisive for his career in cinema. He is an artist who has worked as an actor, a director and a producer. Mr. Glover is an example of how to build a career and manage to live a full life”.
Glover began his masterclass by talking about the Lethal Weapon series, which made him famous. “Although they might be action films, they deal with important issues such as drug trafficking, Apartheid, violence, gun control and immigration”, he said and added that he always prefers to play in films that deal with important social matters.
Regarding the roles in commercial films he has acted in, Glover said: “I don’t regret any of my roles. I believe that my popularity allows me to work in other films that are important to me. Regardless, art is a means for transformation as it evolves our collective conscience, feeds our imagination and allows us to change. Through art, artists try to identify their selves. The people who are in control of art are the ones who can pose a real threat if they take advantage of their position. They can control our imagination and therefore our ideas”.
Glover was skeptical regarding the situation for Afro-American actors in Hollywood, saying that the existing social pyramid has not really seen any change: “The increase of Afro-American actors in Hollywood is unfortunately in numbers and not in quality”.   
Next, Danny Glover spoke about the importance and the value of the film The Color Purple (“22 years later and people are still talking about this film. Color Purple helped the black community to perceive itself differently”) and about the boldness of Manderlay by Lars von Trier, saying that he was impressed by Trier’s potency.
Glover considers John Sayles to be one of the best directors in the world. “I hope to work with again at some point. Sayles does something wonderful. He takes a film that concerns music (Honeydripper), and he sketches all the social characteristics of that time period. And most importantly, he is not dogmatic”.
At the end of his masterclass, Danny Glover revealed that, as a teenager, he was deeply moved by the civil rights movement. “I wanted to be like them, like everyone who fought for freedom”.