Film

Challenging the “lost cause” myth

Author: 

Bas Hardy

The American Civil War casts a long shadow over America history. Anyone doubting its pernicious legacy need only note that all of the states of the former Confederacy except Virginia voted for Trump. However it would be a mistake to believe that the white population of this region have alway acted en bloc as rabid racists.

Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughy, tells us that even during the Civil War sections of the white population in the south sided with the Union. The film deals with what was essentially an insurrection against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, of poor white farmers and runaway slaves led by Newton Knight.

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An argument against post-factual politics

Author: 

Ann Field

Denial is a dramatisation of the libel case brought by Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist David Irving against the American academic Deborah Lipstadt (author of Denying the Holocaust, in which Irving featured prominently) and Penguin Books (which published her book).

A review of Denial, a dramatisation of the libel case brought by Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist David Irving against the American academic Deborah Lipstadt.

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Changing through struggle

Author: 

Bruce Robinson

Sun-Hee works as a cashier in a large supermarket in a South Korean town. She is just about managing, working unpaid overtime she hopes will earn her the permanent position she has been promised which would enable her to satisfy some of her children’s wants. Shy and passive, she watches as a colleague, Hye-mi, is humiliated by being forced to apologise on her knees to a customer.

A review of the 2014 South Korean film ‘Cart’.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Station staff on London Underground are balloting for strikes, and industrial action short of strikes, against job cuts.

The ballot begins on 1 November and closes a fortnight later. Both the RMT and TSSA unions are balloting their members. London Underground’s “Fit for the Future” restructure programme on stations has seen nearly 1,000 jobs axed and thousands of workers forcibly regraded and displaced.

Strikes ahead on Tube; Ritzy workers give bosses a fright; Durham teaching assistants plan strikes; Southern workers protest at Parliament; IDS not a friend of workers or claimants; Post Office strike; Uber loses in court.

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Not miserable but inspiring

Author: 

Tim Cooper

After the UK premiere of Ken Loach’s latest film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, in Liverpool at the time of Labour Party conference, I was filmed for a trailer. What did I think of it?

A review of Ken Loach’s latest film ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

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The life and films of Ken Loach

Author: 

Luke Hardy

People think they know what to expect from a Ken Loach type of film. It’s about working class struggle, collectively or as individuals. It’s political. It uses non-professional actors, alongside professional ones. It will be naturalistic and eschew studio filming or flashy effects. The welcome BBC documentary ‘Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach’ reminds us there is more to Loach.

A review of Versus, now available on BBC iPlayer.

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The man who made Spartacus: The life and work of Stanley Kubrick

Author: 

Clive Bradley

Blatantly recognisable, but with a style which never overwhelms the content, his films are individual, personal - yet awesome in scale and power. So protective was he of his artistic vision that he lived for most of his career in self-imposed exile from the Hollywood system in Britain, even reconstructing Vietnam here because he didn't like flying. He was idiosyncratic, maverick, reportedly very difficult and perfectionist; but that is frequently the mark of an artistic genius.

The man who made Spartacus: The life and work of Stanley Kubrick

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The rage of the refugee

Author: 

Phil Grimm

In the opening scene of Dheepan, beaten soldiers of the Tamil Tigers are burning their war dead. They have been brutally defeated by state forces in the Sri Lankan civil war. As the funeral pyre burns in the jungle clearing, one man quietly changes out of his uniform and into tattered civilian clothes. He has had enough of the killing; it’s time to get out.

A review of the film Dheepan.

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Making a Mess of the Blacklist

Author: 

Daniel Randall

This review was written prior to Eric Lee's review, published in Solidarity 397 (9 March 2016) , and deals with similar themes.


Daniel Randall reviews Trumbo (Dir. Jay Roach, 2015).

A compelling central performance from Bryan Cranston, ably supported by an excellent ensemble cast, featuring sterling work from Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Louis CK, and Elle Fanning in particular, is not enough to save Trumbo from being rather a mess.

Daniel Randall reviews 'Trumbo'.

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Stalinists as victims (review of Trumbo)

Author: 

Eric Lee

Trumbo is a the latest in a series of Hollywood films that looks back nostalgically at the McCarthy era. This was, according to Hollywood, a time when the good guys were blacklisted writers accused of membership in the Communist Party, and the bad guys were the US government, studio bosses, and right-wing media.

There’s no question that Dalton Trumbo was a great writer, and that the Hollywood blacklist was a dark period in American history. But the Stalinist victims were in many cases no heroes, and whitewashing them and rewriting history does no one any good.

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