Film

Kino Eye: A film from Palestine

Lemon Tree, directed by Eran Riklis (who is Israeli) was released in 2008. The Palestinian widow Salma Zidane (played by Hiam Abbass) has only her lemon grove to support her. One day a couple move in next door and her life is turned upside. The new neighbours are Israel Navan, the Israeli Defence Minister and his wife Mira. The lemon grove, supposedly, poses a security hazard and must be cut down as a measure against any potential attacks on the Minister. Although there is a possibility of financial compensation Salma refuses it on principle. The trees are fenced off and Salma is not allowed...

Letters: XR and the police; Vibes won't save us; The bureaucrats had choices; Other Afghanistan films

XR, the police and working-class politics The climate demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion and participated in by Workers Liberty saw multiple instances of authoritarian and violent policing not previously witnessed at mainstream environmental protests. The opening days of the two week long protest introduced the police’s van-mounted loud hailer belting out “Section 14” dispersal orders in central London, and by the Tuesday of the second week videos were circulating of police officers mounting an open-top-bus and swinging batons at protesters inside. This, in the context of the...

Kino Eye: Return to Afghanistan

Directed by the Iranian Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Kandahar (2001) is partly based on the real life story of Nabfer Pazira, who appears in the film as the main character, Nafas. As a child Nafas escapes Afghanistan, eventually settling in Canada where she becomes a journalist. Her sister remained in Afghanistan, in Kandahar, and has lost both limbs after stepping on a landmine. Nafas leaves Canada and travels to the Afghan border after receiving a letter from her sister, who is suicidal. Clad in a burqa Nafas crosses the border into Afghanistan along with a group of former refugees who are trying to...

Kino Eye. Afghanistan: the last time

As far as I know there is only one film depicting the Russian intervention in Afghanistan. Directed by Fedor Bondarchuk, 9th Company (2005) features seven conscripts who opt to serve in Afghanistan as this means only a one-year tour of duty and then – assuming you are still alive – you can go home. After several months’ rigorous and brutal training they are sent into Afghanistan. Early in 1988 they take part in Operation Magistral and have to defend Hill 3234, which comes under fierce attack from the Mujahideen. Eventually, of the seven comrades, only Oleg Lyuti (Artur Smolyaninov) is left. He...

Kino Eye: A film from Georgia

Although a small country, Georgia has produced some brilliant film makers, Otar Iosseliani, Mikhail Kalatozov, Nana Jorjadze, Tengiz Abuladze and Eldar Shengelaia to name only a few. Shengelaia made Blue Mountains in 1983, an absurdist satire which lampoons Soviet bureaucracy and could be seen as a precursor to the “Glasnost” (“openness”) movement associated with Mikhail Gorbachev. Soso is an aspiring novelist who regularly visits the local publishing house, desperately trying to get someone interested in his latest writing. However, the staff are lazy, frequently out for lunch, boozing and...

Kino Eye: Waiting for asylum

There’s been much coverage recently in Solidarity about migration and about the excellent news of victory for the campaign to stop Osime Brown being deported. The film Last Resort, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and released in 2000, tells the tale of a Russian woman, Tanya (Dina Korzum), and her son Artyom (Artyom Strelnikov) who arrive in the UK expecting to meet Tanya’s “fiancé” at the airport. He is a fake, and never shows up. Tanya claims asylum and she is sent by the authorities to Stonehaven, a dilapidated south-east seaside resort which doubles up as a makeshift detention centre, dreary...

The reason I fight

I don’t watch many documentaries about autism, and on the rare occasion when I sit down to watch one, I am overwhelmed with a sense of dread. So much rubbish is said on the subject, even by people who want to be on the right side. So many patronising tropes, so much pity, not enough solidarity. In preparation for watching The Reason I Jump, I speed-read the book on which it is based. In 2007, thirteen-year-old Japanese boy Naoki Higashida wrote about how he experienced the world as a non-speaking autistic person. Particularly since its translation into English in 2013, the book has enabled...

Kino Eye: All the "young heroes" died

TheSolidarity 598 article by Eric Lee on the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union reminded me of one of the most intelligent and moving Soviet films about the war. The director Andrei Tarkovsky is probably too ethereal for some, but check out his first feature film, Ivan’s Childhood (1962). Ivan (Nikolai Burlyaev) is a child scout for the Red Army. Irascible, self-confident but recklessly brave, he risks his life behind enemy lines. The avuncular Captain Kholin takes Ivan under his wing and sends him to a military college but Ivan runs away. The film ends with Soviet troops searching through the...

Kino Eye: Medical pioneers on film

Here’s a film about the man whose name is forever associated with vaccination — the Frenchman Louis Pasteur. The Story of Louis Pasteur (director William Dieterle, 1936) concerns his struggle to convince a conservative medical establishment that diseases are caused by bacteria. He is opposed by Emperor Napoleon III’s personal physician Dr. Charbonnet. The Republican government which ousts Napoleon encourages Pasteur (actor Paul Munni) to continue his research which, in his experiments with anthrax, ultimately demonstrates the validity of his approach. One American review quipped: “If this...

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