BRITISH TROOPS COPE WITH THE IRA IN THE FILM ‘71
Seemingly based on a true story, the film ’71 depicts how fictional Gary Hook (played by Jack O’Donnell), a rookie British soldier, is dispatched to Belfast, receives orders to quell a riot through an amateurish operation, but is accidentally isolated from the rest of his unit, discovered on a street in a state of exhaustion by a friendly Catholic medic, and tries to escape when he realizes that he might soon be hunted down by IRA leaders. The movie features a map of a small Catholic enclave within a larger Protestant city. (The British unit was originally sent to protect Catholics from hostile Protestants.) A British commander briefs his unit that traditional IRA are being challenged by more radical elements. The riot consists of burning, explosions, gunfire, rockthrowing, and yelling by Catholics, evidently enraged by the form of the British crackdown—brutally invading homes to search for IRA radicals and weapons. Factions within the IRA are exposed, and undercover members of the British military seem eager to treat the Catholics like dogs. Those who are aggressive seem brainwashed into a we-they frame of mind, and they view neutrality between the two sides with suspicion. Director Yann Demange offers a picture of the chaos of 1971, presumably to tell those in Britain and Northern Ireland that they should be grateful for living in peace today. However, the dialog is carried on in an accent difficult for American ears to understand, and the moral that peaceful methods for conflict resolution should have been tried is unclear. MH
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY IS PSEUDO-PORN BUT HIGHLY POLITICAL
All films are political because there is a power structure, and Hollywood traditionally belittles those in power. The film Fifty Shades of Grey, based on a recent novel by E. L. James, has never before been analyzed by political scientists, who will soon realize that the female lead, Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson), is in control of the situation all along, pretending to be submissive while experimenting with sex. The one playing the dominant role, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), is a twenty-seven year old billionaire who was a sex slave for a Mrs. Robinson while a teenager. (The plot hints what would have happened if Dustin Hoffman had been in a truly sadomasochistic relationship in The Graduate.) Grey proposes to be the dominant one because that way he can maximize pleasure for Anastasia, who in turn enjoys have his tongue work over her virgin body, occasionally substituted with the feeling of a sensual whip. But Grey is the one trapped in his own fantasy, not Anastasia. When she shows much independence, Grey responds by trying to win her loyalty with excursions available only to a billionaire, who is also a trained pilot. Filmviewers expecting a climax in which Anastasia finally submits to Grey’s perversity, thus, should not be surprised when Grey violates his cardinal principle of seduction—the promise that his goal is to bring ecstasy to Anastasia. Directed by Sam-Taylor Johnson, the film is not porn because no sexual organs are displayed; instead, there is intimate sexual attention. Reviewers have noted that women primarily attend, perhaps better understanding the politics involved than the few males. MH
NEW PAPER AVAILABLE ON WEBSITE
“Human Rights in Washington Declines While Hollywood Increasingly Shows Concern” by Michael Haas has been added as Working Paper #33. The paper was delivered as a public lecture at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, on March 12, 2015.