Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Cinema Category
Terrorism: the Medea Syndrome

Terrorism: the Medea Syndrome

  • September 14, 2014
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Violence is a recurring theme in  Greek classical drama,  and the works of the three great tragic dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes.     All three were citizens of a democratic Athenian state that waged wars of conquest as well as defensive wars against foreign aggression, and some of them participated in these wars.   Aeschylus fought in the battles of Salamis and Marathon against the Persians, and Sophocles also fought in the Athenian army against Samos.

None of these dramatists were ‘anti-war’., but they wrote about the destructive potential of violence with extraordinary power...

A Terrible Beauty

  • August 21, 2014
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Yesterday I was lucky enough to see a screening of the new documentary about the 1916 Easter Rising A Terrible Beauty, at the Derby Quad cinema, in the presence of its director Keith Farrell.     The film is part of an ongoing multimedia project A Terrible Beauty 1916-2016, which sets out to look at...

The Honourable Woman

  • July 08, 2014
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I tend to be wary of Western films and dramas about the Middle East.   Too often they tend to reduce Middle Eastern politics to easily digestable and simplistic tropes whose primary purpose is entertainment.

As Jack Sheehan has pointed out in Reel Bad Arabs, Hollywood has a particularly bad record when it comes to dealing...

Generation War

  • May 11, 2014
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Last night I watched the last part of the German WWII mini-series Generation War.   For those of you that haven’t seen it, the series has provoked strong reactions in Germany and also abroad.   Some German historians have hailed it as an honest and unvarnished account of the war on the Eastern Front, in...

12 Years a Slave

  • January 13, 2014
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Having spent more than a year writing a book about the American Civil War, I had high expectations about Steve McQueen’s 12 Years   a Slave.     I saw it in Sheffield on Saturday, and it didn’t disappoint.   Southern slavery has featured in a number of films over the years, mostly in...

Breaking Bad and the end of the American Dream

  • December 05, 2013
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I’ve finally got to the last episode of Breaking Bad, and I feel not so much bereft as relieved that it’s over.   Not because it wasn’t good.   On the contrary, it’s actually a stunning achievement.     The performances are astonishing throughout.     The writing is sharp and skilful, with an...

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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