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October 2004, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 4 Oct 2004 14:16:10 -0400
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I’m not sure who are “the rest of us” as mentioned in Leo Enticknap's positive
post on the privatization of the British railways.  Those who supported
Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s?   His sneering remarks about railway workers
and “affluent” directors reminded me of this period.   A major criticism of
privatization in Loach’s The Navigators is that it has endangered the staff
and the public.  Only last week two rail workers died on the track in
Staffordshire.  Enticknap makes no mention of large-scale accidents to
passenger trains, not to mention major cuts in services, since privatization.

I’m sure Ken Loach would be really wealthy if he had accepted work in
Hollywood and made films featuring expensive car owners and those who can
afford to travel by air.  Instead,  Loach has spent nearly forty years making
low budget films and television dedicated to the point of view of British—and
more recently—American unions and to the working class generally.

Perhaps this is also veering off the topic but Enticknap’s vision of the
future sounds to me like the one predicted in Godard’s Weekend.

Robert Goff

>===== Original Message From Film and TV Studies Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]> =====
>Langford B writes:
>>Corrupt unions & mobsters feature in Once Upon a Time In America (Leone,
>>1984) & of coure Hoffa (DeVito, 1991)
>They also feature in 'I Married a Communist' (Stevenson, 1950).
>John Dougill writes:
>>The Peter Sellers film I'm Alright Jack (1959) was a biting satire of
>>British trade unionism.
>..and also of outdated and incompetent management methods, which the film
>argues stifled British economic recovery in the aftermath of WWII.  Some
>pretty similar points are also made in 'The Man in the White Suit'.  The
>political and economic context is explained very well in Correlli Barnett,
>'The Lost Victory'.
>>And his Navigators shows what happens when unions are broken by
>>privatisation on British railways.....
>It shows a heavily biased view of 'what happens'.  Loach clearly believes
>that British Rail was some kind of utopia - it probably was if you worked
>for it, but for those forced to use it as a means of transport the
>situation was somewhat different.  I suspect that this wasn't an experience
>that affluent film directors such as Ken Loach had to subject themselves to
>very often.  For the rest of us, the refreshing absence of any national
>strikes since the partial privatisation and fares which have gone down in
>real terms are a welcome development, whether Loach likes it or not.  That
>doesn't alter the fact that railways are an obsolete Victorian technology
>and that if the government had any sense, they'd close the lot and convert
>the freed-up land to motorways and airport runways, but we're now veering
>off topic...
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