Film

Monsters and Men

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American cinema’s appetite for themes of race and class shows no sign of abating. This latest contribution from debut writer and director Reinaldo Marcus Green comes in a series of increasingly class-conscious movies.

Monsters and Men’s raw aesthetic and unapologetically direct style, stripped of the self-conscious pretensions of some of its predecessors, reinvents social realism for 2019. It makes for a gripping 90 minutes that propels us into the Brooklyn enclave of Bed-Stuy and its inhabitants’ problems, joys and struggles.

Green Book

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“Driving while black” is no 21st century curse. Since the earliest days of the motor car black American drivers have faced oppression. At petrol stations, restaurants, resorts and motels white supremacy has reigned.

Thus Harlem postal worker Victor Hugo Green compiled a guidebook in 1936 so that “the negro motorist” could “vacation without aggravation”. It was unknown beyond black families and ceased publication in 1966.

Monsters and Men

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 
Monsters and Men

American cinema’s appetite for themes of race and class shows no sign of abating. This latest contribution from debut writer and director Reinaldo Marcus Green comes in a series of increasingly class-conscious movies.

Monsters and Men’s raw aesthetic and unapologetically direct style, stripped of the self-conscious pretensions of some of its predecessors, reinvents social realism for 2019 and makes for a gripping 90 minutes that propels us into the Brooklyn enclave of Bed-Stuy and its inhabitants’ problems, joys and struggles.

Roma

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Yalitza Aparicio. Remember her name. As an amateur debutante she plays Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Roma. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of upstairs/downstairs life in his native Mexico City, set in 1971 when he would have been ten.

Cleo is one of two live-in workers for the middle class family whose male doctor head deserts them, leaving mum, four young kids and gran to face their futures together poorer.

Disobedience

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Disobedience

Disobedience is Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s first English language film, a north-west London-set drama, based on the 2006 novel by Naomi Alderman. Compared to his previous film, 2017’s A Fantastic Woman, this is a downbeat, subtle story of two women who grew up in an orthodox Jewish community.

22 July and Utoya – July 22

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On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

Sorry to Bother You

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Last August Boots Riley, the American rapper and activist, caused controversy by launching a blistering attack on Spike Lee’s blockbusting film BlacKKKlansman. Riley’s criticism revolved around whether police officers should be portrayed as allies in the fight against racism. For Riley, Ron Stallworth (BlacKKKlansman’s protagonist) “is the villain”.

Two films; few answers

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Nick Grant contrasts two new films on the neo-Nazi atrocity in Norway in 2011.

On 22 July 2011 a Norwegian neo-Nazi stunned the world with his cold-blooded slaughter of 77 people. Another 242 were seriously injured, many permanently disabled.

Most victims were members of the Norwegian Labour Party at a Workers Youth League camp on the tiny island of Utoya. Eight of the deaths plus most casualties were caused by his van-bombing of a government building in Oslo earlier the same day.

Nae Pasaran!

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This is an inspiring documentary about one of the high points of Scottish trade unionism. It follows four former Rolls Royce engineers who, in 1974, some six months after Pinochet’s bloody coup against the Allende government in Chile, led a campaign to “black” — stop all maintenance work — on the engines of Hawker Hunter jets flown by the Chilean air force.

Four engines ended up in crates at the back of Rolls Royce’s plant in East Kilbride for four years before they mysteriously disappeared.

Peterloo

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The immense power of the Manchester textile factories hits you in the face in an early shot in Peterloo. Workers in this new industry were surrounded by dangerous machines. They were replacing the work done in homes by weavers, who were suffering the hardships of a declining workforce.

Later, during the mass protest for democracy on Monday 16 August 1819, when the factories are empty and the machines lie dead, the contrast leaves you with a sense of what power really is. “Scum” cries a boss, walking down an empty street.

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