Separation

04.02.2016

Separation (1967) was directed by Jack Bond and screenplay written by Jane Arden. According to the DVD booklet Separation is a forgotten gem. And why forgotten? Separation didn’t receive good reviews back in the sixties. Perhaps because it was too art-housey? Or because the protagonist Jane is a 40-year-old separated woman who has not just left her child and husband but also taken on a younger lover? The world was not ready for this sort of thing. It was not ready to see a middle aged woman having a nervous breakdown on film. I have to say I don’t understand why this film isn’t appreciated just like all the other great new wave films of the sixties. Like Blow Up or Clèo de 5 á 7 or Sedmikrásky. It has it all: Procol Harum on the soundtrack, wonderful clothing choices, a female protagonist who has the perfect facial expressions (I adore Jane Arden now), an elusive storyline and some dead-on social commentary on the role of women. What’s not to love?

Thanks again to BFI for this DVD & blu-ray release!

separation

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First BFI announces job cuts and the closure of its art gallery. Then over 400 public libraries are under threat in Great Britain. What is going on?!?! British Film Institute has done wonderful work preserving (British) film and television history. The British public library system is one of the finest in the world. Now the powers that be try to undermine these important services, all in the sake of money. How is it that the western world is richer than ever but is somehow, apparently, struggling with finances? It has all got to do with values and priorities. Preservering cultural heritage doesn’t sound all that hip or cool these days. And the idea of raising taxes to fund public library system is just scary. Things like free access to information for all,  promoting lifelong learning, providing (literary) culture to anyone interested, well, that’s just silly. Even more silly is to hire professional librarians to care for public libraries. Who needs an expert in cataloguing or documentation when google knows all and finds all, right? *sigh* It’s scary that this kind of thinking is spreading, first it’s Britain, next it’s happening all over. Somehow those so called tacit factories (future libraries mentioned in Finland’s official country brand) don’t sound all that bad….

Author Philip Pullman is also a library lover. “I love the public library service for what it did for me as a child and as a student and as an adult. I love it because its presence reminds us that there are things above profit, things that profit knows nothing about, things that have the power to baffle the greedy ghost of market fundamentalism, things that stand for civic decency and public respect for imagination and knowledge and the value of simple delight.” Read the whole article. Keep writing and promoting public libraries Philip ❤

Privileged

08.05.2010

British Film Institute has done a great cultural deed by releasing Peter Watkins’  1967 film Privilege (starring Paul Jones) on region 2 dvd. This film was impossible to see anywhere for decades. If I recall correctly only one copy of the film exists at Universal studios, there’s not even a copy at the BFI archives. Universal studios wasn’t interested in releasing the film but thanks to BFI it is now available to anyone interested. And I truly am, for years I wanted to see this film that launched Paul Jones’ film career and starred also 60’s super model Jean Shrimpton. Privilege tells the story of Steven Shorter, the greatest pop star of all time, whose success is used to control and manipulate fan masses. Steven Shorter is merely a (unwilling) puppet in the government’s scheme to keep UK’s youth in control. Even the Church of England isinvolved in this plan. Truthfully, the film is in places a bit corny and in desperate need of editing. However, Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton do a good job. The best thing about Privilege is (as I interpreted it) the theme or message which is that people are, as it were, sheep. Too eager to follow the crowd and too lazy to think for themselves. What the world needs is originality and critical thinking. That is a message that never grows old.