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I. McLarnon "pedestrein" (belfast)

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La Haine (Special Edition) [DVD] [1995]
La Haine (Special Edition) [DVD] [1995]
Dvd ~ Vincent Cassel
Price: £5.99

38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the greatest film ever produced - no cliche, 20 April 2006
La Haine is an absolute cinematic masterpiece not just for its social commentary but how it infuses the personal into the public and the profound understanding of the characters and the realities that they face. It shows how feelings of hatred between friends are overcome by the deepest love in ways that a romantic fiction could only scratch the surface.

It is a story based on a day in the lives of three close friends from France's equivalent of council estates in the aftermath of heavy rioting in their neighbourhood. The film looks at the reactions of the three individuals to the disturbances and how these attitudes change as the events of the day cause the friends to gain a deeper understanding of each other. Although the plot of the film doesn't exclusively centre on this it becomes central in the final tragedy. Kassovitz' ability to draw the viewer into identifying with the three characters may mean that this review is of the objective persuasion but isn't that the beauty of cinema?

The only complaint i would have would be with the absolute mess-up that has been created with the "improved" translation. The original English subtitles were in cockney English and this dialect probably has the closest relevance to the context of the film that can be achieved within the English language. The American English translation on this latest edition throws the film halfway across the globe and fills it with blatant inaccuracies.

Although this edition is full of such instances examples can be seen when the trio are thrown out of the art gallery and when the door has been closed the gallery owner laments "troubled youth" what he actually said was "kids from the suburbs" which has a completely different meaning as it is intended as an example of the prejudices they regularly run into. Also when Hubert and Said are at the bottom of an escalator in the early hours of the morning a reference to people who vote La Pen is changed to "right" voters which again seriously alters its meaning.

It can only be imagined that these changes where made to sell the film to an American audience. A great folly as it is well known Americans have no interest in European cinema and the few that do would surely have the intelligence to understand a foreign dialect. I would therefore advice everyone to buy a copy of the old edition second hand if your French isn't great. But if that isn't possible just bear with the cringing awfulness of the ridiculous scribbles that appear at the bottom of the screen and just watch this film. (it may even convince you to learn French just to better appreciate it - its that good)

The American War: Vietnam 1960-1975
The American War: Vietnam 1960-1975
by Jonathan Neale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How it was for those who fought it, 24 Mar. 2005
Examine every Hollywood film ever released about the American war, every column ever written in every major western newspaper ,every documentary ever composed and see what they all have in common. Some will view the war as right but see it as a mistake, either a poor assessment of the risks by the US government or a failing of the press to fulfill their 'civic duty', usually the latter. The second group is much larger but equally unrepresentative of the markets they claim to serve. They also view the war as a mistake and believe that the motivations for war were honorable but view this instance as being pragmatically unsuitable. What both groups have in common is their depiction of the root causes of the thousands of war crimes committed by US forces in South East Asia as being the fault of 'bad apples,' psychopathic rank and file soldiers who brought out the evil that exists in all of us.
Neill sets out to destroy both politically correct discourses and does so with precise impunity. He first of all points out that before the January68 the entire commercial press reported the Vietnam war exactly as the generals desired. A response to the thuggish brutality of the communist north to destroy the freedoms of the helpless but grateful peasants of the south. January68 was the month of the Tet offensive when the Viet Cong stormed every major city in South Vietnam, shattering the lies of the US army press releases of a Vietcong on the retreat.
This does not mean as would often be assumed that he is uncritical of the Vietcong. He rightly attributes the defeat of the Vietcong as being down to the deeply flawed politics of the leadership. They couldn't organize among the urban working class in the south. All working class organizations had been banned in the USSR backed north. To convince the Vietcong to build working class organizations would have undermined their own dictatorship. So there was no proletarian insurrection to join the peasant guerrillas and the war dragged on for another 7 years with no decisive outcomes.
The atrocities committed by US troops are also put in their right context. Yes there were those among them who enjoyed violence, but he shows why in this situation their behaviour encouraged by such compulsory practices as cutting of the ears of those who had been killed. It was also made clear by the generals that shooting civilians to fulfill body count targets set by the white house would be rewarded.
He also shows that after the Tet Offensive 80% or more of US citizens have consistently viewed the war as 'fundamentally wrong' and not as a mere mistake. The analyses and facts of this book offer an extremely rare insight into the brutal war and put it firmly in its context.

WAR AND AN IRISH TOWN (Pluto Classics)
WAR AND AN IRISH TOWN (Pluto Classics)
by Eamonn McCann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unblinkered richness, 7 Mar. 2005
McCann's War and an Irish Town is an essential read for anyone determined to look beyond the surreptitious vagaries of the mainstream press when they report on Northern Ireland. This goes hand in hand with his commentary on how the republic also became a country dominated by a conservative and inward looking ruling class. The most recent edition attempts to explain why the armed conflict was continuing, then over twenty years since its outbreak.
McCann was a leading figure in the Northern Ireland civil (NICRA) rights movement. This gives him a unique authority in detailing how events unfolded in the run up to the summer of 1968. The communal politicians helped inflame the situation and the armed wing of the orange state the RUC forced nicra the only means the catholic dispossessed had of voicing their very real grievances. It seamed that the only reasonable thing to do in the situation they faced was to turn to armed struggle as this was the only option they were being offered.
The true value of the work however lies in the second part of the book where the historical reasons for Western Europe's poorest workforce being divided is unambiguously detailed. Other Marxist authors fall into the communal trap and see either the Catholics as being the colonial oppressed and the Protestants as the dupes to the British state or what are basically inversion of this scenario on behalf of the 'other' side. McCann shows how the communal divisions are understandable in light of how both the British and Irish ruling classes deliberately offered one side favourable circumstances over the other.
Hence it is understandable that the protestant working class could not accept the home rule movement when it became dominated by the Bishops and Irish petit bourgeois who wanted to cut economic ties to Britain in order to grow their own native industries. A death sentence for their jobs as well as their religious liberties. These fears where confirmed by the Irish republic who pursued the disastrous economic nationalism and openly instituted Rome Rule. The justified fears of the protestant working class caused an antagonism towards their fellow catholic workers and the discrimination which had always existed was exenterated. Giving the catholic working class good reason to look to conservative nationalism an latter to want to join the republic.
McCann also demonstrates that the Northern Ireland conflict is also due to a failure of socialist to build a purely working class party with an internationalist outlook. He details how the history of the Irish labour movement has always ended up looking to various communal politicians who have been prepared to speak in radical terms but are really destined to betray the cause of labour to a vision which is intolerable to one part of the working class. Thus causing the latest reawakening of communal divisions.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 19, 2013 11:32 PM BST

For Marx (Verso Modern Classics)
For Marx (Verso Modern Classics)
by Louis Althusser
Edition: Paperback

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars misguided brilliance, 4 Mar. 2005
I've given this work three stars but this is an inadequate means of assessing the value of this book to the Marxist discourse. The book is important and very much worth reading as it bravely highlights some of the problems which the Marxist tradition was finding itself unable to address. Vulgar reductionisms such as economism and historicism had come to smoother any intellectual creativity causing a lazy stagnation which was easily discredited by opponents. He points out that the economy is not the only factor in guiding a society foreword but other 'layers' such as religion and politics can be equally as important. the economy is normally the most influential of the multitude of factors but each layer has a 'relative autonomy' from the superstructure. He also shows how some of the most highly acclaimed intellectuals such as Gramsci and Luxemburg are guilty of historicism. They both divided history into rigidly defined epochs and seen the future as leading towards inevitabilities. On both accounts they are wrong. An Epoch is nothing more than epistemological tool to categorise history and is quite similar to geological epochs, they aren't factual. Also there is never any inevitable outcome to history. Just as feudalism did not inevitably follow antiquity, socialism will not inevitably follow capitalism.
His flaw however lies in his remedies to these problems. He also attacks humanism as an unscientific 'mode of production' as he believes that individuals play little part in shaping their social world but they rather are called to roles. Hence falls into the structuralist trap of seeing human beings as dupes who don't choose and shape and constantly redefine their roles in light of their empirical social realities. It should be understood how came to this conclusion. As a member of the communist party intelligencia he was surrounded by people who had lost hope in the working class as they this once revolutionary mass buying into capitalism and growing apathetic. He was also a professional intellectual in an elitist university with a ridged top down structure, himself at the pinnacle of his department. He seen himself as holding the only path to pure knowledge as he was seeing himself in the light of how his subordinates presented their image of him, as their intellectual superior.
I would recommend that anyone considering this book should also examine E.P. Thompson's essay, the Poverty of Theory. This is provides a clear demonstration of Althusser's problems and what he failed to address.

Punk In Drublic
Punk In Drublic
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.02

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars musically ingenious...lyrically immature, 3 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Punk In Drublic (Audio CD)
For delivering a raw punk sound Punk in Drublic is NOFX at their best. The album reeks of unpretentious uncompromising self-expression, absolutely full of energy. Musically it's flawless. The lyrics however depict the band had not yet fully developed. Those familiar with So long... and The War on Errorism will notice the lack of wit political and social consciousness and general coherent character of their latest offerings. This is a grim reminder of the fact that you are listening to a bunch of dumb kids and not a group of intellectually autonomous punks.
If you believe that punk is simply about fast guitar rifts and being offensive for the sake of trying to scare the rents this is your album. If on the other hand you have a clue, listen to their more recent material before you listen to this.

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