What with aid convoys and soldiers being equally bombable and refugees being compared to cheap, disposable sweets (as well as the usual, everyday cruelties that seem to be getting increasingly heartless), I’m asking for some kindness this week.
Maybe we look to films for excitement and challenges, so there aren’t too many that have kindness at their core? I’ll suggest The Sessions, based on a true story, in which a professional kindness is also a personal one.
What kind of kind film would you recommend?
The RR playlists for this topic concerned Ulysses, Avalon, Xanadu and so on, but I have chosen it because yesterday’s news item about the report recommending legalisation of cannabis in the UK for medicinal use demonstrates that the Home Office still believes in the old myth that cannabis is a harmful drug (whose active ingredient can only be turned into a beneficial drug by a profit-seeking pharmaceutical company).
Please indulge yourselves with LOTR, Labyrinth, vampires and monsters, if you will, but I’ll kick off with Calvary, a film based on the Bible story which juxtaposes reality and irrational belief to good effect (imho, as usual).
I was hoping that we’d done hubris or hypocrisy but no, the nearest I’m going to get to this week’s gob-smacking example of both is scandal.
OK, there are no oranges or gimp masks involved, but the revelations about Mr Vaz’s private tastes have scandalised many newspaper editors and once again chipped away at the image that people in politics are beacons of truth and integrity.
At least he didn’t break the law. Dirk Bogarde did, and did so when homophobia was not only accepted but expected. People were scandalised by a lot less back then.
What films about scandal get you worked up?
I could have continued down the list of topics from week 1 but that’s something of an endless quest methinks…
So, following Shoey’s lead, I’ll pick a topic relating to the news*: greed. It doesn’t have to be greed for money – there are plenty of films about greed for power, sex, food and so on – but I’ll kick this off with Scorsese’s amoral romp, The Wolf Of Wall Street. It’s crammed with greedy, grabbing arseholes, but they did seem to have fun.
What films about greed would you recommend?
*A fruit-based company might have to shed less than 1% of its $200bn (no, sorry, it’s now $230bn) stash.
I’ll continue following Shoey’s train, as I said I would last week*, and ask for films about lies.
My first thought was Festen, in which terrible truths are revealed at a wedding, but that may be more about keeping secrets than telling lies (a bit of nit-picking that also rules out Mike Leigh’s great Secrets And Lies). I considered Compliance, in which an unseen authority figure lies to see how easy it is to humiliate a burger shop employee (answer: all too easy), but have settled on Philomena. It’s the true story of how the Catholic Church in Ireland lied (and continued to lie for decades) about the fate of the babies they took from ‘unwed mothers’. It’s shockingly good.
What films about lies would you recommend?
*Oh, no I didn’t….
I sense Shoey’s RR:Revisted series is perhaps running out of steam, so I’ll consciously uncouple it from my movie follow-up series and simply pick topics from the Marconium. Until we all get bored…..
The first RR topic ever (and Shoey’s first re-visitation) was Change and the second one was School. An obsession of the US film industry – just watch those hormones kick in! – British and European takes on the subject tend to be a little more serious and/or sinister. Lindsay Anderson’s If, for example, or last year’s The Falling, from Carol Morley:
What school-based films would you recommend?
Plenty of classic films about sport, from This Sporting Life, through Raging Bull to Chariots Of Fire and Rocky. Plenty of documentaries, too, from Senna to Dogtown and Z-Boys to Hoop Dreams and the hypnotically boring Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.
The best ones are about the egos and emotional journeys, of course, not the actual sport, which can be a tad grubby and sweaty (other types of film do this more entertainingly, imho…). I’ll pick a couple of fairly recent ‘based on a true story’s: Moneyball and The Damned United.
What sport films would you recommend?