Regarded as both a hero and a villain, Fidel Castro has now moved into the realms of history, where filmmakers can interpret his actions in whatever light suits their politics. The two-part film about Che covered much of Fidel’s revolutionary history well, but in a rather respectful manner, so let’s see what they do with Fidel.
There are many, many films about historical figures, of variable quality and veracity. Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance as Lincoln, seemed well real……
What films about historical figures would you recommend?
*Shoey’s ad hoc comment on RR last week stung. He’s right: I go to see films, not movies.
Maybe if you don’t go into a negotiation wanting to both have your cake and it eat, you’re setting your sights too low, but there are some difficult situations – in a divorce, for example – where that would seem a rather ambitious approach…
But this allows me to make ambition the theme this week and suggest a film that shows both how effective it can be (if you’re female) and also how pointless (if you’re Caden Cotard). That’s a sort-of cake-and-eat-y thing, no? Synecdoche, New York is a film I recommend to people, expecting most of them to complain how depressing it is. Enough also appreciate its genius.
What films about ambition would you recommend?
If only there were films (and an RR topic) about lovely white rainbows but no, the news continues to taunt us with the nasty men in, and oozing into, power. The Turkish government’s attempt to legalise child rape seems to have failed but the Donald is gathering his favourite slime around him and the dogma is starting to take shape (Remove any trade arrangement or regulation that may prevent me making money! Fuck the rest of the world!)…..
Villains, then. Plenty of the Bond variety, some seriously bad, some ambiguous, some even comic. Like those in Sightseers: gentle caravanners with a sideline in energetic sex and casual violence.
What villainous films would you recommend?
Anyone who has seen Making A Murderer is now cheering the release from prison of Brendan Dassey, the poor sap coerced into helping Manitowoc County police frame his uncle for murder. With a lot of luck, he may remain at liberty.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, we are discovering there may be a connection between staff numbers and prison safety. Who’d a thunk it?
So, prisons this week. Plenty of films set in them and featuring them. I’ll start off with A Prophet, a magnificently disturbing film showing what you can learn and who you can meet when you’re incarcerated.
What films about prison would you recommend?
Well, the USA has heard the promises and can clearly see the choices offered, so what now? I wish I could see an outcome that didn’t involve more hate, more lying and more division. America, Fuck Yeah!
Most films involve choices, of course, but maybe those also involving promises are a little rarer. I’ll start off with this year’s Captain Fantastic, in which the choices made by parents about how to bring up kids are centre-stage. As circumstances change, however, the implicit promises made between them are tested.
What films dealing with promises and choices would you recommend?
The soldiers fighting on the outskirts of Mosul must have a whiff of victory in their nostrils, a hope that the shame and horror of Daesh’s capture of that city will soon be reversed. It won’t be a complete victory, of course, as more innocent lives will be lost and the deluded psychopaths won’t stop until they are dead, but it will be an important step.
Similarly, Martin Luther King’s actions in Selma didn’t end the racial conflict in the USA (wtf will??!!), but they did push LBJ into signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, laying a legal foundation for change to happen.
What films about (a) victory, small or large, personal or political, would you recommend?
Had RR done Songs About Pretending To Consider All The Environmental Issues And Then Doing The Stupid Thing You Always Planned To Do Anyway, then today’s topic would be obvious (if we hadn’t already used it when China eventually got Hinkley Point). So, just plain Aviation, then….
I’ll kick off with Scorsese’s portrait of Howard Hughes, The Aviator.
What films about being airborne would you recommend?