Friday, September 04, 2015

A World Apart

I recently watched the excellent 1988 film A World Apart, the directing debut of Radnorshire based cinematographer Chris Menges.  The film covers a few months in the life of a character, based on the South African Communist Ruth First, as seen through the eyes of her 12 year old daughter played by Jodhi May.  As I say a fine film and readily available to view from the usual sites.

Could such a film be made today, given the total victory of neoliberalism and its neoconservative twin in the mainstream Western media?  I remember how shocked some commentators were at the sight of communist flags at Mandela's funeral - the younger ones being perhaps unaware of the West's support for the most reactionary regimes in South Africa and Latin America in the late 20C.  A time when, for all its internal sclerosis, the Soviet world did support progressive forces from Chile to Afghanistan.

The fall of the Soviet Union now means that we are expected to regard heroes like Ruth First as no better, or even worse, than Nazis.  The most ridiculous Cold War propaganda, which would have been laughed at in the 1980s, is nowadays treated as fact by readers who have been exposed to nothing else; opposing viewpoints going unanswered and exiled to the obscurer corners of the net.

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