Sunday 10 March 2013

The Hunt, Zero Dark Thirty and Chasing Ice

Good to see that The Hunt is the film most critically admired by Borderlines audiences (so far). Couldn’t have happened to a better movie. Mads Mikkelsen’s performance is riveting - most of all in the scene when he comes to church for the Christmas service, into the heart of the community that has judged him hastily and unjustly on a hearsay of paedophilia. The village – and close friends – leap to a conclusion and seem most secure in not changing their minds - perhaps because paedophilia ranks so highly (and deservedly) among our social ills today.

I find myself reflecting on the power of rumour and hasty judgement. Take Lord Rennard, for instance, the Lib Dem boss accused of groping women in his office. At least one of his alleged victims has been on television, soberly relating of his wandering hands. It doesn’t look good for Lord Rennard. However, one has to pull back and say that these are only accusations, that there is no proven evidence of assaults as yet, and Lord Rennard strenuously denies that he has done anything wrong. Surely, before anything else is said or written, people ought to wait for the results of a proper inquiry? Instead, there’s an enormous amount of leaping to judgement. With some exceptions, I myself have found very few among friends prepared to give the noble Lord the benefit of the doubt. The Lib Dems seem to have lost their heads, setting up anti-groping ginger groups everywhere. The Hunt tells of the dangers of this approach.

I will be interested to see how Zero Dark Thirty goes down with festival audiences. Katherine Bigelow’s new movie concerns events before and including the capture of Bin Laden. A few critics, such as Deborah Orr in the Guardian (but very much not Peter Bradshaw), think it an artistic achievement. In America, its implicit assertion that torture helped to capture Bin Laden has made it something of a filmic pariah. In the Oscars, academy voters shunned it, giving it only a half-share of an award for sound-editing. Demonstrators in orange Guantanamo jump-suits protested at openings. Into which voting box will Festival viewers put their tickets?

Went to Chasing Ice on Thursday - the film every climate change sceptic ought to see. Impressive large audience for an afternoon screening. Decided to send a DVD of the movie to Owen Patterson, the climate change sceptic who extraordinarily is secretary of state for the environment. If he watches it, he will change his mind. Surely.

Jeremy Bugler

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