Film

The Irishman

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The Irishman, the latest film by the legendary American director Martin Scorsese, has been eagerly anticipated. Now that it has finally hit screens large and small (the movie is a Netflix production, and transferred to the online streaming service shortly after its cinema release), it reveals itself to be a genuine masterpiece.

Sorry We Missed You

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Ken Loach’s new film is a scrupulous investigation into the life of a delivery driver for the fictional Parcels Delivered Faster. Ricky, a Mancunian who has moved to Newcastle to build a life with his partner and young family, has been unable to get work in the construction industry. A friend suggests he gets into couriering and recommends him to the depot manager.

Ricky is partially sold on the myth of “self-employment” — really the idea that he will have more control over his work and therefore his life, on a decent wage.

Harriet

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Harriet Tubman became legendary in her lifetime as “Moses” who led so many of her people out of slavery to freedom. She was the leading “conductor” on the Underground Railroad escape route that ran in the 1850s.

Many risked their lives guiding or sheltering escaped slaves, but Tubman, who had escaped herself in 1849, went further — personally returning to Maryland to lead escape parties. She personally took at least 70 slaves out and gave instructions that allowed another 50 to escape.

Rojo

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Rojo is set in Argentina just before the right wing military coup that took place in 1976.

A man arrives in a restaurant and starts to attack and insult Claudio, a respected lawyer and the main character of the film. The altercation continues later in the evening. From that moment on Claudio will be dragged into a nightmare. And then a Chilean inspector arrives to investigate…

The film capably explores one the darkest pages in Argentina’s history.

Benjamin Naishtat on Rojo and the disappeared of Argentina

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Director Benjamin Naishtat spoke to Socialist Review about his new film Rojo and Argentina in the 1970s and now.

What inspired you to make this film now?

I wanted to make a film about the 1970s, but frankly there were already many films about those years and about the “desaparecidos” [disappeared], the torture and the political activism against all of this. I discovered, however, that there were not films about the silent majority of Argentinians that went through these times either without doing any political activity at all or being accomplices of the regime.

Peter Fonda, uneasy icon

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The actor Peter Fonda, who died last month aged 79, was Hollywood royalty. His father was Henry Fonda, star of classic films such as Twelve Angry Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Fonda senior’s sensitive performances established the idea of the American as a thoughtful liberal, intent on rooting out prejudice and injustice and bringing about a better way of life for all.

The Brink

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The Brink follows far-right icon Steve Bannon and chronicles his activities for over a year. The film aims to see past the idea that Bannon is a complete mastermind, and it does this well, as it shows how the far-right movement has many flaws. Moreover, it also shows the many contradictions within the far-right.

Gwen

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Set amid the slate-filled landscape of mid-19th century Snowdonia, this gothic tale of black-hearted capitalism features powerful performances from Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Maxine Peake.

It is a powerful story of grief, adolescence, suspicion and superstition that builds an atmosphere of intense dread, broken only by the realisation that the truth of industrialisation is more brutal than anything young Gwen (Worthington-Cox) can conjure in her imagination.

The Flood

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The Flood opens with these words: “Currently some 70 million individuals have been forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict, and violence around the world… Over 18,000 have died while trying to reach Europe in the last five years alone.”

Based on interviews with migrants and ex-Home Office officials, this dignified and dramatic film describes the horrors and risks endured by people seeking refuge in Europe, and the chilling, politicised calculations of the UK border agency.

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