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Death of a President (2006)
Not the future but the present
Not being American, and thus not being embedded within that cultural context, I found myself thinking, after seeing this movie, OK
? As a do-cu-drama the movie is well done. It is a convincing piece of theater. But if the movie's aim was to show how the US exists in a world of suspicion and ever increasing fear, where it is prepared to imprison people on the basis of religion or ethnicity, and prepared also to short circuit the legal process to ensure these outcomes, and prepared also to diminish the rights of individuals and to enlarge the powers of the coercive state, well I must say that is to depict the obvious. In the early days of the so-called 'war on terror' there was much talk that the terrorists must not force us to change our way of life. Well this movie just gives added weight to the view that the terrorists have already done that. It seemed to me that the movie was not describing the future so much as documenting the present. I was a little chilled that the eulogy of Mr Bush was so obsequious. Here was a man who actions have cost the deaths of hundreds of thousands and he was being paraded as a gentle man of peace. Perhaps the movie was saying that we are so locked into our own vision of reality that we fail to look at ourselves rationally; that fear, hate and revenge are greater motivators of human action than rational thought, logical analysis and critical inquiry.
Memoirs of a Survivor (1981)
Psychological Philosophical Thriller - if indeed there is such a genre
Mobia and Jon F (above) describe this movie pretty well. It is a deeply 'philosophical' piece, which sounds an awfully elitist thing to say I know, but it is a movie that demands a reflection upon what it means to be human and the sorts of relationships that bind humans together. It may also be called 'psychological' in that it examines intra-psychic conflicts as well - particularly from the female perspective (which I am not) and that is powerful. It is based in an era of social decay and reminded me of Hobbes where life is "nasty, brutish and short", where humans have been reduced to animals, where the bonds of humanity have been stretched. Is this what we are to become? Is this what we really are? I loved it. It haunted me. I became a Doris Lessing fan after this and have just finished the book. No exploding cars for those that love that sort of thing.
Coupling - A classic Brisitsh Comedy
Coupling goes to the heart of male-female relationships. Confusion, misunderstanding, and a complete inability of one gender to understand the emotional space occupied by the other. And it is hilariously funny. For me the character, Jeff, steals the show. His bizarre, off beat, surreal interpretation of what it means to be a man is classic. This could only be done by British TV. It is too subtle, to nuanced, to be tackled by US sitcoms, where the characters look at the audience and wait for the laughs to come. But perhaps the writer and director should be acknowledged for their light handedness and their wisdom to allow the characters to 'speak for themselves'. It does not get any better than this.