Elane Heffernan

Disgrace

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Director Steve Jacobs; Release date: out now

Disgrace - adapted from the 1999 Booker Prize-winning novel by South African writer J M Coetzee and starring John Malkovich - is a film played out in city and countryside, in the university and on the farm, which none too subtly explores Coetzee's take on sexual alienation during the decline of white rule.

It tells the story of a failing, middle-aged, white professor of literature and his relationship with women, with characters serving as metaphors for the assertion of black self-governance or for white rule.

Fish Tank

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Director: Andrea Arnold; Release date: 11 September

Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank grips you by its stunning visual poetry from the outset. It opens with the camera rushing helter-skelter behind 15 year old school dropout Mia's frustrated and lonely dash across her emotional and physical landscape.

Winner of the Cannes Jury Prize, Fish Tank is a beautifully shot film. Dagenham's cramped council estates, former industrial wastelands and the wild spaces around the Thames estuary frame Mia's attempts to reach beyond the alienation and crushing horizons of a life in which the external social world appears to have nothing to say.

Red Season?

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Martin Smith rescues the working class - of all ethnic backgrounds - from the garbage of the BBC's White Season (Feature, Socialist Review, April 2008).

I am a union shop steward who represents, among others in our multicultural branch, white road sweepers and bin men trying to organise against pay cuts and union busting from a new Labour council intent on employing casualised, mostly east European, agency workers. At times there can be real tension but one of the best points of integration is the recognition that the bosses are the common enemy.

Immigration: Last Refuge of the Racists

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Where the Mail and the Daily Express lead on migration policy, home secretary David Blunkett and Tony Blair are sure to follow.

After weeks of mounting hysteria in the gutter press declaring that every Roma in eastern Europe will move to Britain in May, Blunkett announced ’tough‘ new measures to restrict legal migration of workers from the ten east European countries that are about to join the EU. The measures, in direct response to demands from the racist press, the Tories and the BNP, will force migrant workers to carry ID cards (which, we are told, will then be extended to all EU citizens in Britain, presumably including British nationals).

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