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The Pigeon Tunnel


Director: Errol Morris
Produced by: The Ink Factory, Fourth Floor Productions, Jago Films, Storyteller Productions, and 127 Wall 
Released by: Apple TV+

The Pigeon Tunnel


The definitive and final interview with David Cornwell, more widely known by his pen-name John le Carré, The Pigeon Tunnel unmasks the legendary novelist and real-life spy in a masterfully directed portrait by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War). Drawn from Cornwell’s autobiography, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, the film finds these two masters of their crafts sparring wits while examining a lifetime of deception, betrayal, and love.  

With beautiful recreations of vivid memories brought to life by Igor Martinović alongside a moving musical score by Philip Glass in collaboration with Philip Leonard-Morgan, Morris’ film takes us beyond the black and white pages of Cornwell’s illustrious 60 year career. Clips from notable adaptations of le Carré novels punctuate parallels between Cornwell’s own life to his books. Rare archival footage and never before seen mementos from his life and creative process are shared for the first time as the filmmakers are given unprecedented access.  

Cornwell openly reflects on his complicated early childhood and its indelible effect on his development into a man primed for the secret services. Abandoned by his mother and raised by his con artist father, Cornwell can’t seem to shake the presence of his father even late in his life.  

The film is an intimate conversation with the reclusive author who departed a secret world few will ever know to then create his own as a writer. Cornwell and Morris discuss his writing process as well as his thoughts on creativity, history, and the curious nature of memory. Whether events were real or invented, the distinctions between truth and fiction seem to matter less than the paper-thin membrane in between. Perhaps that’s where most of the world actually exists. For Cornwell, that seems to be where he’s most familiar and why le Carré has defined the spy genre and captivated the world for decades.