“Not to believe in the possibility of dramatic change is to forget that things have changed, not enough of course, but enough to show what is possible. We have been surprised before in history. Indeed, we can do the surprising.”
[Historian Howard Zinn.]
I've spent the last few days in front of the television watching either the latest news from Christchurch, or the unfolding events in the Middle East, with very troubled feelings. The Avaaz organisation are asking for money to provide mobile phones and communcations equipment for the protestors. Do I contribute, as I would like to, or does that make me a terrorist? Under the strict definition of the term, I suppose the answer would have to be yes. Personal beliefs (even in Human Rights) are no defence against the support of insurgency against a regime in power, though hopefully Gaddafi is not going to arrest me!
In between I've been watching the Bafta saga with a certain amount of incredulity. Our mainstream cinema seems to largely ignore what's going on in the world around us. The Kings Speech is a large helping of chocolate cake; the Social Network a quirky docu-drama. A bit of light relief is very welcome, but it's hard not to wonder, sometimes, if Hollywood exists in a golden bubble. You have to go elsewhere to find films that reflect what's happening to the human species.
A small budget film, 'Even the Rain', has just won the Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
Set in Bolivia, it’s a film within a film. It tells the story of a director who goes to Bolivia to make a film about the colonisation of South America by the west. But the people he’s filming amongst are caught up in a battle fuelled by the government’s desire to tax the water supply - the so-called ‘Water Wars’. It’s about a different kind of exploitation - economic colonialism. The two stories parallel each other, providing some interesting insights. The film is topical because it’s also about the power of the people to fight for what is right and escape from the clutches of clinically insane, psychopathic dictators.