Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Cinema Category

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 so many levels.

Griffith’s direction is dazzling and innovative, and sometimes nothing short of astounding considering the technical limitations of the period. He combines expressive close ups to convey subtle emotional nuances with panoramic and brilliantly orchestrated battle scenes, chases,...

Chris Tookey wields the hatchet

  • October 22, 2012
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You don’t have to do much to convince me that the Daily Mail is a cultural wasteland.  But just in case I needed any reminding, my daughter has drawn my attention to a terrible review by the Mail‘s film critic Chris Tookey of Sally Potter’s magnificent Ginger and Rosa.

I went to see the film...

Nostalgia for the Light

  • August 28, 2012
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On a rainy Bank Holiday evening, we drove through the last murky dregs of the-summer-that-never-was to Sheffield to see the Chilean director Patrizio Guzmán’s wonderful Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la Luz).

Guzmán is a documentary   filmmaker and a leftist, who is most famous for the epic three-part study of the rise and fall...

Au revoir Chris Marker

  • August 01, 2012
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The incomparable French filmmaker Chris Marker died last Sunday on his 91st birthday.

Marker is most well-known for his influential post-apocalyptic short La Jetée,   but my personal favourite is Sans Soleil (Sunless), an amazing poetic meditation on time, memory, and twentieth century history, which I first saw when it came out in New...

Even the Rain

  • June 27, 2012
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I’ve just seen Spanish director Iciar Bollain’s remarkable  También la Lluvia (Even the Rain).    Some critics have compared it to Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo,  with its theme of  monomaniacal obsession and vainglory in a Latin American context.  But Even the Rain is far more textured and more political film.

The screenplay...

Ismael Ferroukhi’s War

  • June 03, 2012
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In the last few years there has been an interesting and important stream of films by French-North African directors, which have delved into corners of French-Algerian history that have either never appeared in mainstream cinema before or been touched on only tangentially.

First there was Rachid Bouchareb”s powerful Days of Glory (2006), which celebrated the contribution...

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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