Barry Healy

Amateurs is a poignantly funny film that raises serious questions about Swedish multiculturalism, without ever preaching. There is plenty of harsh racist behaviour demonstrated — but the worst of it is committed by migrants against each other.

In the Fade
Director Fatih Akin
Starring Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto & Johannes Krisch
Released in 2017
www.inthefadefilm.com

Between 2000 and 2011, Nazi terrorists murdered and bombed immigrants in Germany without the authorities even noticing. The police were convinced it was just rival ethnic gangs quarrelling.

This film is based on that period, though not drawn from a particular event. 

In the 2009 kids film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a joke revolves around the illusion that waste products can be sent to a dump called Mount Leftovers. The joke turns dangerous when the dump suddenly bursts and spews forth.

Australia has been treating China as its Mount Leftovers for decades — 76% of paper and 88% of plastics went to China in 2011.

This year is the 50th anniversary of 1968, the year when revolutionary upsurges occurred all across the globe.

Golden Years
Directed by Andre Techine
Starring Pierre Deladonchamps, Celine Sallette, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet & Michel Fau
Showing as part of the nation-wide Alliance Francaise Film Festival

This is a gender-bending true story of how a French man fled World War I trenches and — at the urging of his wife — survived in hiding by passing as a woman.

Apocalyptic futures are common plot lines these days, but few as starling as this one. It has all of the big-ticket items like global warming and alien invasion, but with the added element of passionate and physical acting.

Chris Owen has produced an exhaustive history of colonial Western Australia pastoralists and the police who served their interests in the Kimberley region. It shows that, at best, they considered Aboriginal people as convenient slave labour and at worst pests who were to be exterminated.

Of Mice & Men
By John Steinbeck
First published 1937

This year marks the 80th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s great mythic novel of alienation under US capitalism, Of Mice and Men.

On Google Earth, you can see where the Salinas River “drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green”, a few miles “south of Soledad”, the novella’s opening lines.  Clearly, John Steinbeck knew this area intimately to be able to describe it so strikingly.

Cyril Lionel Robert James, best known as CLR James, was a Trinidadian-born, Black socialist whose work spanned many of the great struggles of the 20th century and across many continents.

A life-long anti-Stalinist, he died in 1989 just as the Soviet Union was beginning to break up – something that brought him joy. 

Now his remarkable life has been captured in a new documentary Every Cook Can Govern.

Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), suffered and died in Mussolini’s prison system. In jail, he wrote his famous Prison Notebooks — more than 3000 pages long — in which he theorised a unique revolutionary Marxist alternative to Stalinism.

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