Tell It To The Bees

You wouldn’t think you could make a lesbian love story set in 1950s Scotland boring, but somehow Tell It To The Bees manages it. And this is me, someone who could like nothing more than queer women in period dress in raunchy sex scenes. And yet.

And what is meant to be a sexy love story, it is punctuated by the most awful scenes of sexual violence, from a woman forced to watch her lover gangraped in front of her, to a woman being held down and have a forcible abortion performed against her will for carrying a mixed race child, to a woman struggling to fend off a beating and rape while her child hammers on the door to stop it.

I’d give it a miss.

The Vanishing

A movie based on the Flannan Isle Mystery. It has a 3 scene cameo from my favourite pencil-necked, blue-eyed psychopath Soren Malling, which almost steals the show for understated ratcheting of tension. Much in the same vein as Shallow Grave and A Simple Plan, it has an element of conflict injected into a tight group, and everything falls to shit.

If you like this

Nae Pasaran

Just out of Nae Pasaran, which would have brought a tear tae a glass een. A documentary about the East Kilbride workers who refused to service or ship the engines used by the planes of the Chilean dictatorship during the 70s. Their legacy is examined in first-hand accounts of surviving political prisoners who recount what news of acts of solidarity did for them during their internment and torture, including the discovery that some were even set free and given refuge in the UK in return for the prospect of gaining the engines.

The heroes that you walk past and don’t even know! A group of auld men from East Kilbride that you’d pass by on the bus, and their actions saved countless lives. At the start of the coup, the military dictatorship had two-dozen planes in the air, all armed with machine guns and missile launchers. Five years later they had 3, and those were in such a precarious state that they could only sent out on essential missions, as any damage could not be effectively repaired. That’s 5 years of taking nearly two-dozen planes out the air that had the capacity to slaughter countless people.

This film manages to strike the balance of being about both collectivism and individual contribution. The East Kilbride workers are modest, and although they describe starting the action in solidarity with the people of Chile, they point out that every single worker in that factory was part of that action, and it was the totality of their efforts that made the ‘blacking’ of the engines possible. This film is about little cogs that turn big wheels that turn the world. It does not call on larger-than-life heroics, but for each individual to follow their conscience and, if they see wrong, to refuse to participate in it. Collectively, that should be enough.

I know I have been guilty in recent years of having moments where I thought of all the things I’ve done, all the things I’ve participated in, and thought, “What is the point? The world is a darker, more racist, more unjust place than when you were a kid. You could have stayed home and done nothing and it would still have been the same. What a waste of time.” But this film is about how none of it is a waste. Because it lets the desperate know they are not forgotten, and every voice that’s raised encourages others to do the same. Those men never knew what their effect was, until now, 40 years later. Doing the right thing doesn’t require that you see the effect, or get a pay-off. It simply remains the right thing to do.

Everyone should see this film.

120 BPM

A love story set among the Parisian branch of Act Up, the AIDS activism group. It has a very naturalistic style to it. It is the first time I’ve seen a political activism meeting look like a real political activism meeting, boring and with agendas and petty bickering and menial practicalities and clash of personalities. Despite its serious subject, it’s a film with a lot of humour and warmth. Recommend.

Goldstone

A sorta sequel to Mystery Road. Detective Jay Swann is back, he’s cleaning up another town, and this time he’s partnering up – with 300 fucking flies. Seriously, like every fucking fly in the Australian outback is in this movie, usually half an inch from the actors’ eyeball or lip – get that tae fuck! I hate watching roamy fucking flies, seriously.

Thing I liked about Mystery Road, it was tight, it was tense, it was breathless. This is much more chatty and obvious. Mystery Road was like No Country For Old Men, Goldstone was more like Machete Kills. Still good for all that. Aaron Pedersen remains the best thing in the movie. In some ways he, and the character of Jay Swann, are better than the story he’s in.

It was a bit sad to see Jay back on the drink at the start of the film but I guess it’s necessary for him to have an arc.