A sense of Cold War paranoia and self-righteous American exceptionalism in “Espionage Target – You!”

“Espionage Target – You!” (1964) Commissioned by the United States Department of Defense for training US military and civilian personnel sent abroad, this film is an example of how closely Hollywood, collectively and individually, worked with the US government in producing propaganda … er, training and educational movies. This film purports to show how agents …

BlacKkKlansman: use of race politics demeans the achievement of a black police officer in exposing the Ku Klux Klan’s evil

Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman” (2018) Filmed as a blaxsploitation-styled comedy drama, this work revolves around a real scenario in which a black American police officer in Colorado state actually infiltrates a local branch of the notorious racist organisation the Ku Klux Klan by pretending to be a white man interested in joining the KKK. The characters …

Those Who Said No: a slickly made and polished film that is less than honest about the politics of the activists it champions

Nima Sarvestani, “Those Who Said No” (2015) A very polished film, complete with stereotypical mournful droning music in parts, this Iranian / Swedish documentary follows proceedings of the Iran Tribunal, a people’s court hosted at The Hague, in its investigation of alleged violations of human rights and crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic Republic …

Origins: The Journey of Humankind (Season 1, Episode 3: The Power of Money) – a shallow and confusing enquiry into the historical importance of money

Celso R Garcia, “Origins: The Journey of Humankind (Season 1, Episode 3: The Power of Money)” (2017) One viewing of this episode of the National Geographic series was enough to put me off watching the rest of the series. Host Jason Silva is an earnest and enthusiastic commentator but his vocal delivery seems to have …

A devious history of chemical and biological weapons on “Secret Science: Chemical and Biological Weapons” that stops short of serious criticism

Tim Usborne, “Secret Science: Chemical and Biological Weapons” (2016) In 2016, the year of its centenary, Britain’s major defence science and technology park, popularly known as Porton Down, received a visit from BBC TV science and medical commentator Dr Michael Mosley and film crew. Mosley and Company prowl around a small part of the facilities …

Loveless: a character study and thriller that criticises Russian society as stagnant, self-absorbed and materialist

Andrei Zvyagintsev, “Loveless” (2017) As with previous films of Andrei Zvyagintsev that I’ve seen, “Loveless” is as much a criticism of modern Russian society and what it values as it is of the individuals who pursue hedonistic and materialist goals to the exclusion of all else. The film opens with a Moscow couple, Boris (Alexei …