KEN LOACH’S ‘I, DANIEL BLAKE’: A BRIEF NOTE ON TWO ILL FOUNDED CRITICISMS

(1) ‘It’s sentimental‘ . No, it isn’t. ‘Sentimental’ is when you focus on how much you are enjoying your own sensitivity. Sentimentality’s essential object is oneself, and it’s faux, inauthentic, self indulgent. ‘Love Story’, for anyone who can recall it, was sentimental. IDB is emotional: its object is on the people portrayed and yes, it aims to upset you and make you angry – that is, if you are emotionally alive as a human being. This is not ‘sentimentality’. (2) ‘The working class characters aren’t realistic: they don’t swear, scream or drink’. This one says more about the assumptions of the … Continue reading

Talking Like Adam Curtis

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I can say that I have sat through the whole of HyperNormalisation. It is arduous viewing, putting it kindly. It’s extremely rich, some might say decadent. If Bitter Lake was a cornerstone, I suspect this film is the excess that followed from it. Everything about it is overdone. If you’ve followed Adam Curtis closely, you’ll note that the footage carries with it his obsessions from recent years. He was writing about Iran, Syria and Libya on his blog back going back five years. For more 15 years or more, Adam Curtis has been able to captivate mainstream audiences with his … Continue reading

JFK: The cultural impact of an assassination

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This year marks 25 years since the release of Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991), starring Kevin Costner and a flamboyant supporting cast including Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. The three hour-plus film reignited debate over the 1963 assassination of US president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A quarter of a century on, that debate still festers. In addition to Stone’s fascinating (though hugely flawed) production, Kennedy’s murder has spawned countless books, films, television documentaries and websites, each devoted to solving the crime. Virtually all take a position on the shooting underpinned by one of two competing theories. On … Continue reading