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Posts for Cinema Category
2018:  What I Read and What I Watched

2018: What I Read and What I Watched

  • January 01, 2019
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In dark times, books and films bring more than consolation or escape.  In a world gone stale and out of kilter they can provide oxygen that helps you to breathe.  They help you understand what is going on and remind you of what could be going on.

I read a lot of great books last year.  My stand out novel is Walter Kempowski’s All for Nothing – an epic and mournful depiction of the apocalyptic collapse of East Prussia at the end of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a landed Prussian family. ...

Son of Saul

  • May 19, 2016
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In these dismal times, when the issue of ‘left antisemitism’ are being ruthlessly and cynically instrumentalised within British politics in an attempt to neutralize opposition to the Israeli state, and destroy the leftist surge within the Labour Party, it’s salutary experience to see the Hungarian director László Nemes’s shattering  Son of Saul.   If...

Patricio Guzmán’s The Pearl Button

  • March 30, 2016
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I’m feeling very fortunate indeed indeed to have just caught Chilean director Patricio Guzmán’s amazing movie The Pearl Button in its UK release.  I try and see as many films as I can every year, but Guzmán’s films are always something extra special.  For those who don’t know him, Guzmán is a documentary...

The Big Short

  • February 17, 2016
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Broadly speaking,  there are three types of political or socially-engaged cinema within  Hollywood.  The first category belongs to movies in which the politics are implicit rather than overt, but can nevertheless be detected or interpreted in the underlying ideological, cultural or racial assumptions and priorities that determine plot structures and storylines, or the way that...

Cartel Land

  • September 06, 2015
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I’m not sure if would recommend Matthew Heinemann’s dark and disturbing documentary Cartel Land, which I saw last night, because one thing you can say is that is not a pleasant or life-affirming evening at the movies.  But for those who believe that cinema should do more than entertain you or send you home...

Two Days, One Night

  • June 03, 2015
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I’ve just seen the Dardenne brothers’ brilliant Two Days, One Night (2014)   It’s a film I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint.     The premise is deceptively simple: Sandra Byas, played by Marion Cotillard,   is a worker in a Belgian solar panel factory who has...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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