Friday, April 14, 2006
Top Ten Political Films
10. Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979)
Not an explicitly political film but one which made much fun out of the religion and politics and ideological politics too. Apart from a million other moments I loved the distinction drawn between the ‘Liberation Front of Judea’ and the ‘Judean Liberation Front’ plus the whispered comment of someone leaving one of Christ's orations: “What Jesus doesn’t appreciate is that it’s the ‘meek’ whoare the problem”.
9. Fog of War (Errol Morris, 2003)
Wonderful 'straight to camera' documentary of Ford Executive turned Secretary of State for Defence under JFK and LBJ calmly unpicks his policy in South East Asia and perceives looming similarities with the war in Iraq.
8. Wag the Dog (Barry Levinson, 1997)
Spin doctor invents a war in order to distract attention from a Presidential sexual scandal. All too credible I thought.
7. Dr Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)
The Robert Bolt screenplay of the Pasternak novel captures the writer’s plea from an oppressed country, for people, especially the creative ones, to be allowed to live unmolested by the state and the madmen who run them.
6. Goodbye Lenin (Wolfgang Becker, 2003)
Hilarious ‘recreation’ of pre 1989 East Berlin for the benefit of a mother who has come out of a yearlong coma and might have another heart attack if confronted by the shock of the new order's reality.
5. The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1965)
The French Foreign Legion seek comfort from their Vietnam retreat by torturing Algerians who respond with bombs in cafes killing scores of innocant victims. An astonishingly powerful experience of the dirtiness and horror of this kind of war.
4. Election (Alexander Payne, 1999)
Reese Witherspoon is excellent as the obnoxious high achiever seeking to win the voting approval of fellow pupils in a process involving sexual and other myriad complications. Clever microcosm critique of the electoral process.
3. The Candidate (Michael Ritchie, 1972)
Robert Redford plays Bill McKay, a candidate who tries to fight but is eventually rather overcome by the media’s domination of political life and its requirements for deceit and dissembling.
2. Judgement at Nuremberg (Stanley Kramer, 1961)
All star (Lancaster, Tracey, Dietrich, even Judy Garland) investigation of universal moral truths involved in the trials of Nazi war leaders. Riveting performances and a first class screenplay.
1. Dr Strangelove, or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(Stanley Kubrik, 1963)
Peter Sellers stars as several characters in this ultimate satire on the horror of nuclear war. The very bestest film about politics and war, in my humble opinion, ever made.
This must be a top ten entry.
The Confession (Costa Gavras, 1970) follows the path of Artur London, a Czechoslovakian communist arrested for treason and espionage by the Stalinist regime in late 40s, early 50s Prague.
1. 'The Manchurian Candidate' (Original version)
2. 'The Ploughman's Lunch'
3. 'Battleship Potemkin'
4. 'Lord of the Flies'
5. 'Three Colours Trilogy'
7. 'Bob Roberts'
8. 'The People Who Live Under the Stairs'
9. 'Seven Days in May'
10. 'Paths of Glory'
No Michael Moore, but no Ken Loach, either? Honourable johnny come lately that might stand the test of time - 'Constant Gardener'.
Haven't seen the last nor some on your list, but it's a pretty good list of additional 'must see' films I agree. Not absolutely sure 'Three Colours'is all that political.. but it's all in the eye of the viewer.
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