The Journey, a modern parable

MV5BMTU5NjcxNDAzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTkyNjM2OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1502,1000_AL_
A terrific movie that rehearses the big arguments that we should appreciate as two sworn enemies brokered the St.Andrew’s Agreement in 2006.
The Journey” takes the trip Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness made for an urgent flight after the agreement was reached.
Here, critics appear to have a wobble. For one Northern Ireland correspondent, too much disregard for the facts; the characters not sufficiently captured. For one film critic, the dramatic device of the journey being monitored by all the other key participants not adding drama. Too harsh.
A parable has been created that entertains and illuminates, and reminds us well of just what a political journey these leaders took.

Line of Duty series 4

landscape-1489514970-13080511-low-res-line-of-duty-series-4
Another excellent series (broadcast on BBC tv).
The theme of this series was (institutional) sexism, kinda reinforced by public criticism of Thandie Newton’s performance as a bit reserved when that was the nature of the character she was playing.
Other characteristics of the series remains –
– masking what’s really going on until the finale; so even though it’s always about the fight against highly organised crime, viewers seem to forget;
– AC12, the anti-corruption unit, around which the series is based, again continue to not be good enough in their duties;
– compelling witness interview scenes;
– hands always get hurt.
As in other drama series there are bits that seem implausible (e.g. main characters back at work very quickly after suffering very serious injuries) and plenty has been left unresolved for another series.

Their finest

A celebration of cinema and when Britain and its empire stood alone against the Nazis.
A reminder of the sexist nature of the world of work.
An entertainment.

And how the screenwriters must have enjoyed writing a screenplay where the screenwriter is the hero in a war film.
(No doubt learning from journalists who make themselves the hero in a political story.)
One bigger quibble – the female lead makes strides for women and without any real reason, falls for the boss at work (having fallen previously for an artist who didn’t champion her) without any kind of narratve to suggest there had been real warmth.  Surely the screenwriters should have spotted that.

James Baldwin and Jermaine Jenas

I am not your Negro” is a presentation of a 30 page draft by notable and nationally known American commentator and writer, James Baldwin, who was often an effective communicator of the oppression black people in America suffered, and was emphatic in expressing that problem as an American problem, and not a black problem.
He knew, and was despairingly affected by the murders of, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Billed as a documentary, but more an illustrated editorial – and none the worse for it – the piece covered wider issues – disappointment that wealth had not brought happiness, and also brought a reluctance to hold serious views.

And then a post-screening debate.
Straight into damning mainstream education, talking up alternative schools, emphasising development of the individual and absence of any common vision or programme.
And *they*, they, expressed concern about the dominance of the right.

At some stage, some of the people present might put a documentary together about the history of Nottingham, though it seems likely any such production is likely to focus on 1958 and the race riots.
And could any such documentary do any worse than BBC 3 tv’s “Teenage Knife Crime” – first broadcast on 3 April and filmed last December.
Host is Jermaine Jenas, Nottingham born and bred.
Notts. Police refused to co-operate and when you watch the production, you get why.
Relative stats., not absolute; wild statements from Jermaine at the end like “thousands” with no justification; ordinary streets like Holgate Road filmed for an interview in the dark that makes it look like a sinister place; even silhouettes of weeds on a wall filmed at night to make Nottingham look sinister; no challenge to statements of teenagers being interviewed; allowing the notions of rivalries between neighbourhoods to go unchallenged; music to set your nerves on end.
No proper analysis of what is no longer done that might have mitigated problems and no mention of cuts to public services, although there was one moment that talked about “we” are letting the kids down.
You can’t watch a film made in your city and often in your ward without having some thoughts about what more to do.
But it would be nice if Jermaine Jenas could do the same.

Selma and Pentrich

I missed Selma on its release (and have only just seen it on BBC 2 tv).  The film brings some stunning moments from the past to life – of government spying & brutality, of racism, of fear, of defiance.
Some controversy over the portrayal of President Johnson’s politics and actions – a shame the film couldn’t be more positive about him.
Still the big story – people denied political rights, people putting themselves at some risk from government sides and brutality.
Similar to the Hampden clubs / Luddites of 200 years ago who started marches on London, including the one from the industrial villages in Derbyshire such as Pentrich, who marched 200 years ago this June.
There would have been the same discussions over the problems life presents, how they have no power to get things changed, and how the actions they might be taking will be dangerous.  Even discussions when they’d realised they were being spied upon.
There are limits to the parallels.  Unlike the Southern Christrian Leadership Confrence, the rebels from 200 years ago were not non-violent, although their weapons were basic and not significant enough to make them do anything but run when they saw government forces ahead.
There are books and plays on the movements of the day – but not films.  Just don’t give such a movie to Mel Gibson.