Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Cinema Category

Vittorio de Sica in Manila

  • October 07, 2013
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Given the frequently parochial attitudes of the British film public towards ‘subtitled films’, and the absence of any Western stars, the British-Filipino film Metro Manila isn’t likely to fill many seats in British cinemas, and it certainly hadn’t filled many in the Derby cinema where we went to see it last night.

This is a pity,   because it’s a cracking good movie on many different levels, which combines all the ingredients of a nerve-shredding thriller with some searing social commentary.     Somewhat bizarrely, Metro Manila is a contender for this year’s Oscars in...

Fernand Melgar’s fortress

  • June 23, 2013
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Last week I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion in Nottingham to accompany Fernand Melgar’s film La Forteresse (2008), as part of an event put on by the New Art Exchange for Refugee Week.   Melgar’s film is a remarkable achievement, that has rarely, if ever been seen in the UK.

This a...

The Fortress: Screening and Panel Discussion

  • June 20, 2013
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Very excited about tonight’s screening of Fernando Melgar’s The Fortress (2008) organized by the New Art Exchange.         It’s a rare opportunity to   see what looks to be a real important and unique film, and I’m participating in the panel discussion afterwards.

Here’s a trailer:

And here are details of tonight’s event:


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Red Dawn Redux

  • March 13, 2013
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When it comes to geopolitics, Hollywood often has a striking ability to produce films that reflect and reinforce the prevailing foreign policy assumptions of the American political and military establishment,   or which at least do nothing to challenge them.

So it’s not surprising that a film presenting Americans as innocent victims of Iranian fanaticism and...


  • January 29, 2013
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A couple of weeks ago we went to see Gangster Squad on a cinematic family outing.   It was predictable fare, but stylish and enjoyable enough for those of us who like that sort of thing – and I am one those who do.

Sean Penn was particularly good as snarling mobster Mickey Cohen – following...

Birth of a Nation: D.W. Griffith and the Far-Right Imagination

  • December 15, 2012
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I”ve just watched D.W. Griffith”s The Birth of a Nation, a film that I”ve often heard about but not seen until now. It”s a disturbing and disconcerting experience, not just because of its rampantly white supremacist view of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction period, but because it really is an exceptional film on...

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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