Veteran director Sydney Pollack finds it almost impossible to make light-hearted films - because the deaths of his mother and only son have given him the urge to make tragic movies.

The 70-year-old film-maker admits he made heart-rending films like OUT OF AFRICA and BOBBY DEERFIELD to help him express his grief after losing his mother when he was just 16 and suffering his son's sudden death in a plane crash in 1993.

But his family have inspired him to seek refuge from his woes, by making independent comedies like TOOTSIE and SABRINA.

He explains, "Tragedy, grief, whatever, is a big, big, big part of life to me. I know that I'm drawn to it.

"My two daughters beat me up all the time about it - 'Don't get melancholy in this movie, Dad, don't get maudlin.' I have a tendency to do that and so I try to fight against it."

18/04/2005 17:27