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October 2004, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 Oct 2004 20:26:42 +0100
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Paul Ward writes:

>To merely dismiss him as a 'propagandist' is ridiculous - his film (and
>TV) work is consistently *argued* from a specific position...

Why can propaganda not be argued?  I would define propaganda as promoting
certain arguments while, if necessary, trying to inhibit others.

>If you disagree with what he (or any other filmmaker) says then you need
>to come up with counter-arguments rather than fatuous abuse.

I have - Loach's film consistently put forward arguments which promote his
own political beliefs while ignoring or dismissing those which undermine
them.  See my last post for examples (though, needless to say, 'Land and
Freedom' should read 'Bread and Roses').

>The nonsensical logic appears to be that Loach comes from a certain

No.  By 'affluent' I was speculating that Loach is far more financially
better off than most of the characters in his films would be (and all of
the ones which are depicted with any sympathy).  He might not be a
millionaire, but anyone who directs theatrically released feature films -
even relatively low budget ones - will be better off than any academic
(unless you're David Starkey, maybe) ever will be.  I therefore find his
simplistic cinematic moral lectures on behalf of the downtrodden somewhat
hard to take.

>'The Navigators' clearly deals with the issues of worker and passenger
>safety on the railways, post-privatisation.

For 'deals with', I would substitute 'misrepresents'.

>Secondly, Loach's background is that of a grammar school-educated son of
>an electrician. He went to Oxford on a scholarship. Hardly the Marquis of
>Nuneaton, really.

He is also on the record as supporting a political party (Labour) which is
trying to kill off grammar schools and raise university tuition fees to the
point at which anyone from a similar background is unlikely to get anywhere
near Oxbridge ever again.  Hmm...

>As Leo points out, the service is still pretty poor, but now it is
>taxpayer-funded so that companies can profit (and amazingly they do
>profit: surely the whole point of a 'free market' philosophy is that if
>you cannot survive in the market, then you go to the wall . . . . what
>happens in the rail industry is that companies provide a substandard
>service, but still make profits because they are pocketing billions from
>the taxpayer).

I agree wholeheartedly.  And if Loach was genuinely concerned with
improving the standard of living of the low paid, he would make a film
advocating the total abolition of railways (except possibly for urban
commuter transport) and using the money saved to slash petrol taxes so that
they could afford to own cars and travel longer distances by air.  Richard
Branson is no fool, and if even he can't make money out of trains without
colossal public subsidies, it's time to face facts, i.e. that technology
has moved on a bit since Stephenson's day.

>Mind you, Rob Dawber did write the script after being made compulsorily
>redundant (after agreement from the employers that all redundancies would
>be voluntary) and while suffering from work-induced mesothelioma (the
>cancer caused by exposure to asbestos).

Which, of course, was purely a result of privatisation.  I'm sure there
wasn't a shred of asbestos anywhere near any railway line in British Rail's
day, but as soon as big bad private business moved in, they shipped tons of
the stuff into every siding, station and carriage in the land.  Most of the
miners who contracted respiratory diseases caused by coal dust (of which
there are a fair few in this part of the world) did so on the NCB's watch,
too.  Thanks to Mrs. Thatcher having decided that it was time to move on
from our reliance on a dirty and inefficient fuel which broke the backs (in
some cases literally) of whose who were required to extract it, no-one will
receive that death sentence ever again.


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