6 posts categorized "Social Realism"

July 01, 2024

THE OLD OAK — CANNES 2023

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comCurrently at age 88, Ken Loach is a senior statesman of Socialist Cinema. It's questionable as to whether or not "The Old Oak" will be his final film.

As such, "The Old Oak" arrives with a palpable sense of import.

Working with his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty, Ken Loach gives us a great litmus test of a movie to guide minds toward communal understanding and mutual support.

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Still, "The Old Oak" will not do much for the tourism trade in North East England's County Durham.

Bitter and nasty right-wingers openly attack Syrian refugees brought by social workers into their neighborhood.

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Scripted with Paul Laverty's reliable ear for accurate dialogue, "The Old Oak" is special film that fits well beside other Ken Loach/Paul Laverty masterpieces as "Carla's Song," "Ae Fond Kiss," and "The Wind That Shakes The Barley."

Communities are only as good as their infrastructure.

ColeSmithey.com

Socialism is everywhere you look.

Paved streets, street lights, sidewalks, bridges, plumbing and running water, are all socialist constructs.

Getting your head out of your ass is just the first step toward a better world.

"The Old Oak" is a fine place to start.

Not Rated. 113 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

June 16, 2024

WORKING GIRLS — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

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ColeSmithey.com

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

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ColeSmithey.comLizzie Borden's third film, behind "Regrouping" (1979) and "Born In Flames" (1983), is a perfect chamber-piece of neo-realist social satire.

The film's feminist trappings of an '80s era Manhattan brothel provides the frame for a piercing commentary on the effects of American capitalism on women.

"Working Girls" could easily be adapted to be a modernday Broadway play.

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It would be a sensation for its timeless qualities of social, sexual, and economic truth.

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Molly (Louise Smith), a professional photographer, lives with her lesbian girlfriend when she isn't working as a sex worker in a Manhattan brothel run by a domineering madam.

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"Have you ever heard of surplus value?"

That theme line shoots like a sharp political dart when a character speaks it.

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“All workers create more value at work than they receive in wages. The extra surplus value goes into the boss’s pocket as profit.”

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Surplus value is "the surplus produced over and above what is required to survive, which is translated into profit in capitalism. Since the capitalist pays a laborer for his/her labor, the capitalist claims to own the means of production, the worker's labor-power, and even the product that is thus produced."

Female hands hold cups of coffee, count money, and remove cum-filled condoms.

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Everyone chisels; there is no place to hide.

Not Rated. 93 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

October 25, 2023

FORBIDDEN GAMES — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comRene Clement's 1952 adaptation of Francois Boyer's 1944 novel is an exquisitely pragmatic film about the corruptive effect of war on children. Fitting then that the wartime movie received a “G” rating upon its release.

The documentarian-turned-feature filmmaker Clement tells the horrifying story of devastating familial loss from the eyes of two traumatized adolescent protagonists.

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It is June, 1940. After her parents are killed beside her on a street leading out of Paris during the Nazi blitzkrieg, five-year-old Paulette (played by Brigitte Fossey) reaches out to compare he mother’s dead cheek with her own.

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In this one bitter moment the filmmaker sums up the depravity of all wars. Things can only get much worse before they get better. Paulette may have survived the attack, but she is doomed as a human being.

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The newly minted refugee carries her dead dog with her. She doesn’t even cry because she isn’t old enough to even begin processing the cataclysmic loss she has just endured, much less imagine a future for herself. Death will forever be her constant companion, mentor, and parent. War has turned Paulette into a monster in the blink of an eye.

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Later, Michel Dolle (Georges Poujouly), a 10-year-old peasant boy, discovers Paulette wandering alone in the countryside. Michel naturally convinces his family to take the little girl in to live with them.

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Puppy-love blooms. Sadism arrives.

Paulette requests that Michel go out and kill animals to add her private animal cemetery in an abandoned mill. Stolen crucifixes are a necessary part of Paulette’s alter of death. This little female Hitler has plans to eventually include human corpses in her collection. What starts out as a children’s game has far greater implications for the future. The traumatized little girl attempts to reenact her parents’ deaths that haunt her conscious and sub-conscious thoughts.

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"Forbidden Games" caused a scandal when it was released in 1952 because it co-opted a fictional story and embellished it with the recent realities of World War II. The film is every bit as controversial today for its transparently fuming view of the permanent damage that war inflicts on its youngest survivors. You’re never too young to repeat the atrocities of your elders, is a message that comes across loud and clear in this disturbing film, made all the more powerful via Rene Clement’s neo-realist approach.

ColeSmithey.com

At the time of this picture’s release, Rene Clement was already a household name connected to war films due to his popular Resistance docudrama “Battle of the Rails” (1945) and “Les Maudits,” about intrigue on a German U-boat near the end of World War II.

ColeSmithey.com

Clement’s early years spent studying architecture informed his ability to articulate the power of buildings, streets, bridges, rivers, and objects over the variable ability of children to extrapolate personal truths about their place in the world around them. Hope is just so much wasted effort in the face of bombs.

Not Rated. 86 mins.

5 Stars SF SHOCKTOBER!
Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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