Your say / Bristol

‘It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, world’

By roger griffith, Monday Jun 12, 2017

Seeing as my Brexit and Trump political predictions were hopelessly wrong, I’m staying in my literal lane with social commentary and analysis. I describe this as more like reading the tea leaves than peering into a crystal ball.

The June General Election of 2017 caused more shockwaves and put a few more pollsters and politicos into retirement. As a broadcaster I normally prefer to compile a record playlist. However, on this occasion I’ve gone for a baker’s dozen of films to explain this General Election.

In my febrile imagination, I went back in my time machine to working at Blockbuster video rental store recommending films to some hapless and some happy customers.

For Theresa May, Billie Holiday’s life story charting her traumatic rise and fall, Lady Sings The Blues, felt perfect. For her policies on older people and raids on the grey pound, I recommended Raiders of the Lost Ark; while her talks with the DUP needs the musical comedy-drama The Commitments.

It was great to see young people use their voice and vote at this election, so Rebel Without a Cause was an obvious choice and for Bristol’s fabulous students I recommended the coming of age drama An Education.

Thangam Debbonaire’s returned to Westminster with an increased majority in Bristol West after battling both cancer and Corbyn emulates Wonder Woman.

Speaking of Jeremy, confounding his critics is one thing but he needs another election to be PM, so The Hunt for Red October was his pick. The lead from that film was Scottish nationalist Sean Connery and Mrs May wasn’t the only disappointed female leader. Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP lost votes on a referendum agenda to break up the union as they seek National Treasure. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond could well be The Last King of Scotland.

For film noir lovers after losing his Sheffield seat, the 1948 Oscar winning Fallen Idol was presented to former deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

The demise of UKIP post-Brexit has been almost as fascinating in a grisly sense as the last days of the Third Reich best portrayed in Downfall. And all this talk of another General Election means Bill Murray’s comedy Groundhog Day will be in big demand.

I also have a close eye on turbulent political times across the pond in America. The Trump vs Comey battle over the truth reminded me of the libel case to deny the Holocaust, best depicted in last year’s compelling Denial and reminiscent of the Watergate scandal seen in All The President’s Men.

Predicting these political times is A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World. That film was directed by Stanley Kramer, whose racially charged 1967 classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starring Sir Sidney Poiter we are bringing to the Watershed next month.

Roger Griffith is executive chair and broadcaster at Ujima Radio and an author. He is also a member of the Come the Revolution film collective supported by the Watershed, who are screening Nick Broomfield’s biopic on Whitney Houston, Can I Be Me, from Friday, June 16.


Read more: Whitney: Can I Be Me + Nick Broomfield Q&A

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