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Showing posts from August, 2019


Anyone looking for an astringent corrective to the postmodern hypertrophies of the Tarantino style will find it in the beautiful and profoundly intelligent new film from Joanna Hogg, The Souvenir , executive produced by, among others, Martin Scorsese, and starring Tilda Swinton and her daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, as a fictional mother and daughter in 80s London. Like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ... The Souvenir is especially interested in framing a narrative around film, and directing film - in this instance, the hero is a young woman, from the English upper class, who has become a film student, and is seeking to make a film about working class life in a part of the country she barely knows. Hogg allows us to see how a film student (her in actuality looking back in memory) might film and tell the story of her own aesthetic awakening, through the medium she loves - through the story of her sentimental education, as it were, as a naïve lover, swept up by a Heathcliffian slight


some rogues are less welcome than others Depending on which newspaper you opened this morning in Britain, we in the UK are either facing a major constitutional crisis, or have a brilliant and determined PM doing the will of the people. This is because yesterday, Boris Johnson prorogued parliament for about 5 weeks, thereby closing it down to parliamentary debate, and the anticipated manoeuvres of a coalition of anti-no-deal-Brexit MPs. In Canada, former Tory PM Stephen Harper also deployed this dramatic move, and it was decried then, though Canadian democracy is still alive and kicking today. It was last used in the UK by John Major in 1997, and is not quite as arcane as some commentators claim - but it is almost impossible to locate another instance of a government proroguing parliament for so long during such a serious moment for the nation, knowingly shutting down the parliamentarians from doing their jobs. The problem is, if one revisits the first sentence of this essay, yo

Hollywood Mon Amour

It is perhaps no surprise that most ( not all, thankfully ) film critics have praised Tarantino's latest (9th) film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood... as a masterwork - I have seen it even called Shakespearean - a term that comes from a scene in the movie; but he is more a Jacobean Middleton. Tarantino's late career has been focused on revenge - one of the primary staples of drama and melodrama in all English literature; it is also, of course, the staple of Nicholas Cage's late career, so it is not an inherently perfect one. Violence is to Saint Quentin what bars are to San Quentin - the raison d'etre. I cannot think of another director - not even Peckinpah or de Palma, Hitchcock or Scorsese - so cocked and aimed in one direction - that of setting up and paying off scenes and situations so that 'all hell breaks loose' and terrible violence ensues. Tarantino has argued - often publicly and coarsely - for an art for art's sake separation between reel violen


For observers, it must seem incredible, but the UK is as close as it has now ever been, since Cromwell, to a civil war that could lead to a new sort of model of governance. Unless the EU blinks and gives in to PM Johnson's clear demand to remove the so-called Irish Backstop - which seems unlikely if not impossible - then the government will seek a No Deal crash-out from Europe. However, since the opposition MPs and fed-up backbench Tories actually have the majority numbers, they could easily vote no-confidence in the Boris leadership, and normally this would result in an election, and Johnson's resignation. This is not situation normal, though, and with Cummings onboard, the alleged sociopath, and acknowledged Brexit legislator who cunningly planned the Brexit win of 2016, there is now a grumbling sense that Johnson may simply ignore the parliament's votes and soldier on. This would create a unique constitutional crisis, and bring the Queen in, which is not a sol