Errol Morris’ Latest Documentary Delves into the Life of Spy Novelist John le Carré


Summary: Acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris explores the life and work of renowned spy novelist John le Carré in his latest film, ‘The Pigeon Tunnel.’ Through interviews conducted shortly before le Carré’s death, the film offers a captivating investigation into the complex nature of human history and its intersection with fiction.

Errol Morris, the mastermind behind acclaimed documentaries such as ‘The Thin Blue Line’ and ‘The Fog of War,’ has released his latest film, ‘The Pigeon Tunnel,’ in which he sits down with renowned spy novelist John le Carré. The interviews, conducted shortly before le Carré’s passing, provide insight into the life and work of the enigmatic author, whose real name was David Cornwell. As a former British intelligent agent, le Carré was an expert in interrogations. The film, based on le Carré’s memoir of the same name, offers a captivating exploration of the murky depths of human nature and the blurred lines between fact and fiction.

During an interview, Morris reflects on the origins of his career in interviewing, including his early interviews with serial killer Ed Gein. He shares that he felt comfortable talking to people and that interviews were a crucial part of his investigation process, whether it was for his films or when working as a private detective. Morris also discusses his unique approach to interviewing, emphasizing the value of letting people talk freely and reveal aspects of themselves. He challenges the idea that documentaries are inherently truthful and delves into the importance of subjective versus objective truth.

Morris acknowledges the similarities and shared obsessions between himself and le Carré. Despite feeling that he could have done a better job with the film, Morris expresses his admiration for the author’s wit and humor. He also unpacks the central metaphor of le Carré’s book, ‘The Pigeon Tunnel,’ comparing it to a Kafka parable and discussing the nuanced complexities of history and conspiracy theories. Ultimately, Morris and le Carré agree that history is chaotic, with people often at cross-purposes and too confused to effectively conspire in any meaningful way.

Tags: Errol Morris, documentary, John le Carré, spy novelist, interviews, memoir, history, fiction