Video Nasties: Draconian Days, Jake West’s second documentary about Britain’s panic over the evils of home video is a fascinating examination of the political intentions of censorship and the resulting chaotic social impact of the state’s attempts to control personal taste.
I was surprised to read over the weekend of the death of Kurt Maetzig. He was 101. Maetzig began his career in film in the ’30s with work on film technologies and animation. After the rise of the Nazis his work permit was revoked because of his mother’s Jewish heritage, and he spent the war […]
After decades of neglect (at best) or even active suppression, the release of Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) on DVD should be cause for celebration, particularly as it arrives in a 2-disk special edition from the prestigious British Film Institute. But the problems which have plagued the film since even before its release continue to […]
I recently started work on a documentary about the history of movie theatres and movie-going in Winnipeg. A brief article about the project in the Winnipeg Free Press has brought an amazing number of calls and emails from a wide range of people who have quite passionate memories of the old neighbourhood theatres and the […]
There is a long, if not necessarily venerable, tradition in the arts of creating confrontational, deliberately offensive work to challenge received ideas and to make people conscious of their own conventional assumptions. When work like this is created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to get indignant at people who are genuinely offended; in […]
After a brief prologue in which a cult of Satanists is banished from Spain by the Inquisition, Evilspeak (Eric Weston, 1981) transports us to an American military academy where a much abused cadet (Clint Howard, younger brother of director Ron and former child star of TV’s Gentle Ben) discovers a large “hidden” room in the […]
Issues of censorship and freedom of speech are always more complicated than we’d like. It’s never just simply a clear cut question of “this” or “that”. The complete denial that certain elements of pop culture, for instance, can’t possibly do anyone any harm under any circumstances, doesn’t really hold up – of course some people […]