Political Film Review #584


Each year the Political Film Society gives awards for the best politically oriented films, and 2018 has fewer than 2017. No films were nominated in the categories DEMOCRACY or PEACE. Six were nominated for HUMAN RIGHTS. Eleven were nominated for best EXPOSÉ Political Film Society rules require the number of nominated films to be reduced to five in each category. Accordingly, the ballots below enable members to narrow the list to one for HUMAN RIGHTS and five for EXPOSÉ:

For the category EXPOSÉ, which recognizes the importance of raising political consciousness by bringing to light little-known facts, the following films were nominated, so select the best FIVE:

BlacKkKlansman (Police infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado)

Boy Erased (How clinics operate to deprogram gays and lesbians)

Chappaquiddick (Ted Kennedy fails to save his drowning girlfriend)

55 Steps (Mental health patients treated as virtual slaves)

The Front Runner (Why Gary Hart never became a presidential candidate)

Green Book (Treatment of Blacks in the South during the 1960s)

On the Basis of Sex (How Ruth Bader Ginsburg launched her career)

Outlaw King (Scots achieve independence from England in 1314)

22 July (Terrorist attack by a Norwegian right-wing extremist)

Vice (Dick Cheney’s rise from drunk to vice president)

The Young Karl Marx (Engels supports Marx, and they launch a new ideology)

Vote for the FIVE among the six films nominated for raising consciousness of the need for greater HUMAN RIGHTS:

BlacKkKlansman (Racism of the Ku Klux Klan and in a police department)

Boy Erased (Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation)

55 Steps (The rights of mental health patients)

Freak Show (Rights of transgender persons vs assimilationism

On the Basis of Sex (How men kept women from advancing)

Sweet Country (Aboriginals mistreated in Australia in the 1920s

Political Film Society members must return ballots by January 31, 2018. A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Political Film Society will convene at 8481 Allenwood Road, Los Angeles, CA on February 1, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. to count ballots. All Political Film Society members are invited to the meeting.

LITHUANIANS MOURN IN ASHES IN THE SNOW                                              Made for about $5,000, Ashes in the Snow (Tarp pilku debesu) is based on the novel Between Shades of Gray, which dramatizes how Lithuanians were treated by the conquering Soviets during World War II. Beginning with a calm day in a Lithuanian town in early 1941, the film focuses on the fate of a particular family when Soviet troops roll into town later that year. First comes the roundup to a holding prison, followed by a trip along with several others to serve hard labor in Siberia. Filmviewers learn that the father (played by Sam Hazeldine) has forged documents to facilitate exit from the country, so he is imprisoned, while his family is branded as traitors by association and later forced to sign a confession to be settled in Siberian camps. Later, possibly due to the daughter obtaining unauthorized paper for artistic sketches, the family is transferred with a few others to a camp in the Arctic, where the mother (Sophie Cookston) dies, and the two children (Bel Powley and Tom Sweet) are at the mercy of the commander of the camp, Nikolai Kretzky (Martin Willström). Most of the slow-moving film focuses on the agony of the arrest, detainment, train ride, living and working conditions, and the freezing conditions during the Arctic winter. Even Kretzky feels the pain as he is forced to mistreat those under his command. Director Marius Markevicius tries to provide a happy ending at the end, but filmviewers will not be satisfied. The Political Film Society, nevertheless, has nominated Ashes in the Snow as best film exposé and best film on the virtues of human rights and peace of 2019. MH