Archive for the ‘Films’ Category
No, directed by Pablo Larrain, brings back the politics of the1970s and the 1980s with a thump.
Chile’s in the late 1980s was a military regime. From the September 1973 coup against Socialist President Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet had emerged as Junta leader. The left alliance, Unidad Popular, had suffered years of brutal oppression. A pioneer of free-market economics, a more than faithful ally of the United States, the ruling Generals had received the blessing of Pope Paul ll. Their example was widely followed across Latin America.
In 1988 the regime felt confident enough to legitimise its rule by a Plebiscite. This sop the world opinion allowed the opposition to emerge and campaign against this. No narrates this contest, from inside the team that successfully challenged the dictatorship.
René Saavedera – played by rising Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal – is an ad-man, from a left-wing family. No revolves around his influence on the ‘No’ campaign’s communications strategy. René is determined to modernise their style. Sometimes it is not clear whether he is anything more than modernisation.
To neutralise the anti-Communist fears whipped up by the Military’s publicists he nudges and pushes the No camp towards a hopeful, forward–looking approach. With the Rainbow Logo, hHappiness, an end to fear, a joyful youthfulness, are spun into calls for freedom. As the contest runs on his own conflicts, with his regime-tied Advertising Agency Boss, Lucho Guzman. His former wife, a good-hearted left activist, and his young son, are drawn into the drama as the heat rises against anybody on the ‘No’ side.
The bleached out colours, the Big Hair, the Dynasty couture and toned bodies of the actors, remind you that we are definitely not in the present. René’s ex-wife remarks that in Chile, where people are largely small and dark, there are not many of these Danish giants.
No gives a place to those on the left determined to keep this memory alive. They do not come over easily, or at all, to the new style. But their sombre, emotional, television spots are pushed aside as the broadcasting business gets underway.
One side of the picture has rankled Many feel that it was not by advertising alone that they won the vote, the opposition campaign on the ground, grass-roots led, was decisive. Others have pointed to Larrin’s own family. His parents, Herman and Magdalena, are on the Chilean hard-right.
Perhaps it is true that the director’s own forays into advertising shaped the film. But the viewer is left with little doubt about the regime’s viciousness. And who can not share the joy in the film as the Victory of the NO camp comes through?
The long period of Chilean dictatorship took place in the country long renowned for its democratic institutions. No amount of whataboutery can minimise the suffering of the Chilean opposition. The tortures and deaths they suffered were compounded by the misery into which large parts of the population were plunged by liberal economics.
Such was the shock of the Chilean coup that the European Social Democratic, Socialist and Communist Parties in the 1970s were deeply affected by it. Some called for democratically elected left governments to remove any such military threat by smashing the power of the armed forces. Others, famously in the Italian Communist Party (PCI), developed the theory of a “historical compromise” so wide that an electoral victory could not be contested by force.
Things have changed. The horizon of the left is narrower. It’s not a transition to socialism that’s on the cards, but a transition from liberal economics. This includes Chile, where the military influence remained institutionalised long after the No’s victory and the free-marketeers continue to dominate.
One might ask whether a campaign to free our countries today from the hate and misery of this economics of despair would be improved through the kind of hopeful calls for a better future that No brings to life.
Bardot to Quit France, a Nation Mourns.
On Europe I this morning and here,
“Famous French actress Brigitte Bardot threatened the French authorities, following her colleague Gerard Depardieu, that she would seek Russian citizenship. Bardot, being an active defender of animals, tries to attract public attention to the euthanasia of sick elephants in a Lyon circus.”
Bardot is most famous for her perfect bum, in the film, Le Mépris, and her ability to sing in the same key, again and again, for her- numerous – Records is an active supporter of the French far-right and animal rights.
Ginger and Rosa is the warmest and best political film to come out this year.
It is set in 1962 . Two girls – Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) - grow up in half-ruined, half cosy post war London. They are inseparable. Now a teenager Ginger has loves poetry, and cites Simone de Beauvoir. Her friend in more interested in having a good time.
They skip school, talk about religion (Rosa is a Christian), and politics and look down on their mothers.Rosa’s is a single parent living in a block of council flats. Ginger’s mum is married to Roland Alessandro Nivola) and has moved to a substantial terraced house. He is a pacifist activist who served time in prison for his refusal to fight in the Second World War. A lecturer, Roland disappears with female students for long periods.
The Cold War is the backdrop to the drama. Rosa, sensitive to her bones, becomes obsessed with the danger of nuclear war. She joins Young CND. There is a memorable scene where a young activist addresses his audience with the words, “As Engels said, ‘What is to be Done?”.
The drama unfolds as the ‘autonomy’ that Roland lectures, or rather assumes for his every choice, meets an enthralled Rosa.
The film lays bare a whole host of sexual and moral dilemmas. Friendship, sexuality at the cusp of adulthood, and responsibility to others, are just some of them. Roland’s circle of generous and acute pacifists are there to remind us of what the latter could be.
The backdrop, the CND’s response to the threat of a nuclear holocaust, has another, deep, historical resonance.
It is a reminder of the importance the Ban the Bomb protests have played in Britain, not just in the 50s and early 60s, but in the 1980s. In the picture Bertrand Russell’s name crops up all the time. He was, some might remember, not just the best known supporter of the 1950s campaign but the author of Proposed Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism (1918).
Roland’s narcissistic pacifism, and Ginger’s good-hearted feelings, could be said to be important strands in these movements.
The dénouement of Rosa and Ginger leaves the viewer with a lot to think out.
My Political Hero.
All the comrades are going to comment on the successful TUC demo yesterday.
I have but this to add about what also happened that day.
Except that it was great.
But. there are moments and there are moments.
The episode of The Thick of It last night is one.
A few pints of ale with my friends in the pub after the demo, and a glass of Occitan wine in my hand (with a bacon sarnie) probably helped but this, was believe me on the level of classics.
Like the last episode of Black Adder.
Here is a snippet,
The government, the opposition and the civil service all have a lot of questions to answer about the suicide of a nurse after his flat was sold off. They must now come before an inquiry into the scandal which has engulfed all corners of politics.
Lord Goolding is reputedly a fair man, but he is not going to stand for any nonsense and neither is his team of expert inquisitors, so surely now the truth will come out. Unless someone lies, or creates a diversion of some kind, or simply pretends not to remember anything. Which they obviously would never do
- Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) well, he is worth noting.
- Tucker: Tomorrow – from broadsheets to wank rags – I want pages one, two and three to be a profile of Tom looking like a fucking political colossus, you know – Tom meeting the Pope, Tom in a NHS hospital chatting to little, baldie kiddies. I want pages four and five to be a timeline of British politics with ME at the center, looking fucking indispensable and fucking benign, and I want page six to be fucking Israel or some bullshit, not a fucking DoSAC deepshit legacy-distracting COCKUP!
- Or this,
On British war:
Malcolm Tucker: You, hey, put the snifter out there that if the BBC ambushes a minister with another surprise question about the war, I’ll drop a bomb on them.
Judy: I can’t do that, can I? That’s political.
Malcolm Tucker: Does that not fit within your purview, Marie Antoinette? Why don’t you just scuttle off back to fucking Cranford and play around with your tea and your cakes and your fucking horse cocks. Let them eat cock!
- As indeed Le Monde has.
L’ambassade américaine à Tunis, le 12 septembre 2012. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL)
The Nouvel Observateur reports that as protests at The Innocence of Muslims have spread Tunisia is the scene of a violent assault on the Tunis American Embassy.
“Protesters have entered the US embassy in the Tunisian capital Tunis in the latest violence sparked by an anti-Muslim film.
A large fire could be seen burning inside the compound. Police fired teargas at the crowds, who broke windows and set fire to trees.” (Here)
Some apparently believe that these displays of religious fervour, whose aim is to defend a faith from a film which nobody obliges them to watch, are, by attacking the US, ‘anti-imperialist’.
James Bloodworth offers a welcome counterblast,
We have absolutely no doubt that this will be used by the Islamist Ennahda-led government to divert attention from their own – economic and social – problems. And it will fuel their campaign to restrict free-speech on anything deemed ‘un-Islamic’.
This will be the template for Islamist governments across the world.