I, DANIEL BLAKE directed by Ken Loach (UK, 2016)
In part 12 of his illuminating Channel 4 documentary series on The Story Of Film, Mark Cousins focused on notable directors from around the world like John Sayles in the US and Krzysztof Kieslowski in Poland who were prepared to stand up for worthy, though unfashionable, political causes.
The connecting theme was what Cousins frequently referred to as ‘speaking truth to power’, a phrase that originated with the Quaker movement in the 1950s and was later adopted in the United States as a rallying call to those opposing the dark forces of Fascism and totalitarianism.
For half a century, Ken Loach has followed this principle by being a voice for the dispossessed and downtrodden in society. He opposes the political establishment that serves the masters yet ignores the slaves. He stands against systems which sustain the healthy and the wealthy but provide little nourishment to the poor and needy. Continue reading
THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON by Adam Johnson (First published by Random House, 2012)
This is the story of a survivor who has nothing to live for.
Pak Jun Do is a North Korean John Doe and by all accounts a model citizen of a shitty nation.
Adam Johnson’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel illustrates that when living within ideological systems it is too easy to get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Hegemony functions to make any way of life appear to be ‘normal’ and/or beyond reproach.
Johnson asks plenty of loaded questions such as to whether it is nobler to be devoted to the ‘dear leader’ (Kim Jon II) of North Korea than to cling to an often elusive American dream. No middle way is offered. Continue reading
Caché (Hidden) directed by Michael Haneke (France, 2005)
On 17th October 1961, the French National Police, following orders from the head of the Parisian police force, Maurice Papon, attacked a peaceful demonstration of around 30,000 pro-National Liberation Front (FLN) Algerians.
The events surrounding the massacre and its death toll of anywhere between 40 and 200 Algerians were long denied by the state and were not exposed by the media at the time. The true extent of the massacre only became public around 40 years later.
I didn’t know the details of this shameful cover-up but the ‘truth’ of this recent history helps to understand some of the complexities of Michael Haneke’s subtle and brilliantly acted psychological thriller, Caché (Hidden). Continue reading
ROCKIN’ 1000 – THAT’S LIVE : Orogel Stadium, Cesena, Italy 24th July 2016
Talkin’ ’bout a revolution?
Well, if you define a revolution as a popular uprising for the common good of the people, then that is exactly what we witnessed last night at a soccer stadium in Cesena in a unique event organized by Rockin’1000.
This time last year Cesena rocked the world with a one-off mass performance of ‘Learn To Fly’.
The stirring video of this went viral and brought tears to the eyes of Dave Grohl. It achieved the goal of getting The Foo Fighters to play in this small provincial town in Emilia-Romagna (Population 97,000) .
This is the video:
For those about to rock. How the stadium looked before the start of the show.
This year, the aim was to kick ass worldwide once again and play, not just one song, but a full concert.
As before this was the brainchild/wild dream of Fabio Zaffagnini a modest spokesman for the project who is always at pains to point out that this a team mission that could not succeed without others having the same level of passion, creativity, madness and belief in miracles.