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A decent young photographer chronicles everyday life in a crumbling district of Warsaw
This film was shown in Romania as part of the European Film Festival week. This story of everyday life in Praga, a near-slum district in Warsaw, is true, honest and very powerful. The photographer seems to be the only "normal" person in a scenario populated by street urchins who are expert thieves, a bunch of vodka-swilling but friendly drunks, a hairdresser who runs a brothel and is regularly beaten up by her lover, a violent criminal on parole, an ex-cop, a newsagent who knows all the local gossip, a head-butting bouncer, and three camera-snapping Japanese tourists who seek out the low life with great enthusiasm. The photographer has to make moral compromises right through the film, and turns on the smooth businessmen who employ him. Overwhelming and highly recommended.
Hidden Agenda (1990)
sol1218, you're getting your Labour and Tory leaders thoroughly mixed up!
Whooaa! Slow down, sol1218 from Brooklyn NY.
The political scene in the U.K. looked like this: Edward Heath, bachelor leader of the Conservatives, won the election in 1970. He took Britain into the then Common Market in 1973, but called an election in February 1974 when the miners forced him to declare a three-day week.
The Tory slogan for the election was: Who governs Britain? The result was confused, but the message was fairly clear: Not you, matey. Labour under Harold Wilson took office with a slim majority. Wilson called a second election in October, which he won narrowly, increasing his majority slightly.
He held a referendum on the Common Market in 1975, which he won by sidelining the extremists of both Left and Right. He ruled until 1976 when he resigned from politics, for reasons which were obscure at the time, but probably because he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's. It is certainly true that the Right plotted endlessly against him.
Jim Callaghan, who had been Chancellor, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, took over as P.M. and called an election after his full five-year term. (In the U.K. governments normally call elections after four years.) In fact Callaghan was forced to do so because of a move by the Scottish Nationalists. Had he called the election just a year earlier, he stood a good chance of winning, say many pundits.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives had deposed Edward Heath who had lost them two elections, and Maggie Thatcher replaced him as leader. She swept to power in 1979, and as we all know, won the next two elections.
Economic chaos was the watchword of the day and there were many strikes. The situation in Northern Ireland, which had started simmering with the Civil Rights movement of 1968, gradually deteriorated. The assassinated politician of the film whose name is Nevin, may well represent Airey Neave, a war hero who had escaped from the high-security Colditz Castle, a German-speaking lawyer who had attended the Nuremberg Trials and a hardline Conservative with military and security connections, who was a close adviser of Thatcher. He was blown up outside the House of Commons on March 30, 1979, by the INLA a few weeks before the election.
Ken Loach has never made any secret of his sympathies for the Irish cause. His powerful film "Wind that shakes the barley", which apparently did not make much money in the U.K., had Conservative politicians fulminating about treason and lack of patriotism because of his portrayal of the brutal Black and Tans. The name was given to the ex-British army personnel and (inaccurately) also to the auxiliaries who were sent to Ireland between 1920 and 1921 to crush the IRA and Sinn Fein, but who also attacked and killed civilians. Historians agree, however, that Loach was pretty accurate in his historical recreation. The film also shows the ruthlessness of Irish-on-Irish killings in the Civil War afterwards.