“Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice”, said Nelson Mandela, in a quote that closes ‘Mandela: The Official Exhibition” on London’s southbank. He went on to explain how poverty can be overcome: “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural, it is man-made and it can be eradicated by the actions of human beings”.
Peterloo, Mike Leigh’s masterful new film, is a dramatic account of the massacre by drunken Yeomanry of unarmed families meeting in Manchester in August 2019, to call for working class men to have the right to vote. It was a formative moment in modern British history and, as the historian E.P. Thompson put it “Within two days of Peterloo, all England knew of the event”, yet it is barely know about today. Leigh’s film ought to do something to redress the balance.
If anyone has yet to see ‘To Provide All People’, Owen Sheers’ incredible ‘poem in the voice of the NHS’, dramatised by the BBC, then you are missing out on the television event of the year.
‘Loving Vincent’ is stunning animated oil painting, with every scene lovingly reproduced in the style of its subject and featuring many of the characters from Van Gogh’s greatest works. It is like the artist had painted his own life story, except had this been an autobiography one suspects that the subject would not have been treated so sympathetically. For Vincent, we learn, inspired much love, but never quite enough to overcome his own lack of self-worth.
What a beautiful film, what a gorgeous little cinema! Londoners who want a cinematic treat need to head to the beautiful Castle cinema on Chatsworth Road in Homerton, and catch ‘A Man Called Ove’. There are proper armchairs, a great range of drinks and food, and friendly staff in this recently restored old picture house. And if you loved Frederik Backman’s wonderful book (previously reviewed on markontour), then you’ll adore the film. But bring a big box of hankies, because there was a lot of sniffling on Friday night, although it is ultimately a hugely uplifting tale of a man with an outsized heart.
For a Nottingham Forest fan of a certain age it is impossible to watch Jonny Owen’s loving tribute to the Clough-era European conquerors without getting a little misty eyed. The best moment is when Clough faces the media after a disappointing semi-final draw with Cologne. “I hope there isn’t anybody stupid enough to write us off” he drawls, as a smile of supreme self-confidence spread across his face. The Forest players knew at that moment they were going to go on to win. The rest of the world had a few weeks to catch up.
I was intending to use breaks between work on a long flight to New Zeland to have a proper listen to George the Poet, and to read The Interpretation of Dreams as background towards a blog about the Freud Museum. But, after what should have been a day-long journey turned into 40 hours of queueing and cramp thanks to fog over Dubai, my time-zone challenged brain needed a Plan B. Thus as we zoom through an Australian night, markontour is preparing to blog about The Martian, while listening to Taylor Swift.
Written for radio, Under Milk Wood has been widely considered impossible to translate into film, such is the profusion of two-line characters and surrealism of the content. Kevin Allen, however, supported by Michael Breen, performance poet Murray Lachlan-Young and actor Rhys Ifans, has done just that and done so magnificently.
I’ve been thinking that it’s about time I wrote something serious about saving the world on this blog, and the benefits of car sharing to reducing traffic congestion and pollution would be a worthy subject, but that’s for another day. Today I simply want to ask am I alone in thinking that Peter Kay’s Car Share has been the best comedy on British television since Outnumbered last graced our screens?
Well this is embarrassing: I just found myself whimpering on the Eurostar while watching Brassed Off, the stirring Pete Postlethwaite film about pit closures and colliery bands. Some slightly perplexed French people observed. I’m not sure it is a moment that is really deserving of a blog, but as I am clearly feeling unusually emotional I will grant myself an exception. The moment when the late lamented Pete Postlethwaite, lungs full of coal dust, refuses the trophy his Grimley Colliery Band have just won at the Albert Hall, and launches into an excoriating dissection of the inhumanity of Margaret Thatcher’s annihalation of the pit villages, should be in the book of Great British Speeches. I don’t have the French to explain that though..