Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Diogenes Film Club

The Diogenes Club is well known for its film evenings which are held monthly. Films are chosen by members in turn and we all enjoy a good meal and a selection of the finest ales as an accompaniment to the main event. The Club Secretary thought it wise to record the choice of films for posterity and will keep it updated with any future events.

25 Europa
(Pridian July 10)
A dark, surreal film-noir take on the political thriller: a young American deserter trying to find a place in postwar Germany is torn between idealism and love when pressed by a terrorist group to blow up the train he is on. Danish 1991, dir. Lars von Trier

24 Burn After Reading
(Beachhut Man June 10)
Black comedy by the Cohen Bros. Ex CIA operative decides to write a memoir which gets lost. Two naive people try to sell it to the russians with dire consequences for all. At the end we are all left asking, what did we learn? The answer, as is true of life's lessons in general, is nothing.

23 LA Confidential
(Dr Phil May 10)
Corruption in the LA Police leads young rooky detective to rise to the top of this profession by being more ruthless than the corrupt officers he exposes. Set in the 1950's this has all the glamour of a Bogart movie with added colour.

22 I Know Where I'm Going 
(Zeno April 10)
Determined lady who thinks she knows her own mind persues happiness in the shape of a rich industry tychoon who can provide her with all the essentials of a happy life. On her way to marriage on a scottish island she is side-tracked by the genuine article. More Powell and Pressburger magic.

21 The Whole Wide World 
(Pridian April 10)
The author of Conan the Barbarian meets sassy Texan school teacher on the road of discovery. Does romance win out or will love be sacrificed on the sword of fantasy fiction to divide them forever?

20 The Lives of Others
(Beachhut Man Mar 10)
East German movie (sub-titled) about the Stasi and their intrusion into the minutiae of everyone's lives with its appalling and obvious consequences.

19 Conflict 
(Dr Phil February 10)
Bogart movie that has become a lost classic, in which Bogart plays the disenchanted husband who murders his wife and leaves her body under a pile of logs. Sidney Greenstreet plays the psychologist who brings him to justice.

18 Still Crazy 
(Zeno Jan 10)
Aging rock group reform for one last gig and find that age is inescapable

17 The Wind and the Lion 
(Pridian Dec 09)
The irresistible force of Connery meets the immovable resistance of Candice Bergan

16 In My Father's Den 
(Beachhut Man Nov 09)
A movie about paternal loss.

15 The Magnet 
(Dr Phil Oct 09)
A young boy tricks another into giving him his magnet. Plagued by a guilty conscience he stumbles from one narrow escape to another until at the end of the adventure he finds his deception has resulted in him being awarded the civic medal of honour, which he passes back to the original and rightful owner.

14 Melody 
(Zeno Sep 09)
Charming 70s movie of teenage love set to irresistible BeeGees music. Mark Lester falls in love and reaches that point when girls mean more than friends.

13 Much ado about Nothing 
(Pridian August 09)
Shakespeare courtesy of Kenneth Bragnan and co. A salutary tale about how the smallest of mistakes can lead the the greatest of tragedies and as the title says a great deal about very little.

12 Charlie Chaplin in Limelight
(Beachhut Man
Sep 09)
A piquant farewell from a tortured genius with aspirations and responsibilities in conflict.

11 To Kill a Mockingbird
(Dr Phil
June 09)
Powerful drama seen through the eyes of children. Scout learns that "you never get to understand another person unless you walk around in his shoes a little"

10 The Dish 
(Zeno May 09)A gentle story about Australia's involvement in the Apollo 11 moon landing as it tracks the astronauts with its big dish in the middle of a sheep farm. A cross between Contact and Local Hero.

9 Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment 
(Pridian Apr 09)
Artist son of Marxist parents abandons traditional class-struggle ideology to indulge in fantasy - based largely on scenes from King Kong and Tarzan movies - of Natural Man living outside social convention, and pays the price.

8 The Lake House 
(Dr Phil Mar 09)
Dismissed by some as a "rom-com", hailed by others as ground-breaking paradigm-shifting science-fiction. The truth is probably neither: Two people meet and fall in love with only the barrier of time to overcome.

7 Park Row 
(Beachhut Man Feb 09)
Hard gritty newspaper story about the hard and gritty life of newspapermen. The Diogenarian maxim is, "Don't ever let anyone tell you what to write".

6 V for Vendetta 
(Zeno Nov 08)
Guy Fawkes resurrected in a dystopian future, strikes a blow for freedom and blows up the government to the general acclamation of all.

5 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy 
(Pridian Oct 08)
A light and breezy understated comedy from the stable of Woody Allen who manages to produce a mixture of Brian Rix and William Shakespere with just a dash of New England.

4 Thank you for Smoking 
(Beachhut Man Sep 08: )
Big tobacco's spokesperson twists the truth for smoking to prevail. Katie Holmes is as an amoral journalist who gets on top of an amoral pro-tobacco spin doctor in this satire.

3 Hobson's Choice 
(Dr Phil Jul 08)
The poor but honest cobbler, with the help of a good wife, shakes off the shackles of class oppression and sets up on his own shop eventually buying out the boss.

2 Catch us if you can 
(Zeno Jun 08)
The mad cap adventures of a famous pop group (no, not the Beatles...) the Dave Clarke Five who through a wistful tour of 60s nostalgia have a zany time. But don't ask what it is all about.

1 Closely Observed Trains 

(Pridian May 08)
A group of Czech railway station porters learn how to keep themselves sane under the new Nazi occupation but don't always succeed.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

A Manifesto for Change

One of our members received a personal email the other day from Nick Clegg, Deputy Primeminister, asking how to run the country. It went something like this.

Dear ...........,

We've already scrapped ID cards. Now I'd like to ask you - which other laws do you want to scrap?

Well, from the comfort of my club armchair I have a few suggestions that the new regime might like to take on board.

Personal liberty
Let's start with dismantelling the new authoritarianism. It's been the Dark Ages as far as personal freedom goes. Restore our freedom to let our children play outside or cycle to school or smack them if they need it. Everyone should be free to smoke, free to drink, adopt a child or walk down a street without hitting a minefield of regulations, restrictions and surveillance measures. Smoking should not be banned in pubs. There should be no laws against hate or thinking the wrong thoughts. People should be free to say anything they like without worrying about offending anyone.

The government should cease its intervention into the private lives of people and pronouncing on what is allowed and what is not in intimate relations. Sex offenders should not be singled out and demonised by society. Childen aged 10 and 11 should not be brought to the Old Baily and accused of adult crimes for playing doctors and nurses.

Free speech
No speech should be constrained by bans, libel laws or well-meaning self-censorship. The internet should not be regulated in any way. "Hate speech" should not be a crime. Nazis, anti-semites, racists or the Womens Institute should not be censored. Everyone has the same rights as everyone else to express their views. There should be no crimes against stating your views or holding opinions. Holocaust denial should no more be a crime than God denial should be a crime. There should be no laws against blasphemy or outraging public opinion. The right to be able to offend other people should be an inalienable human right.

Risk and Fear
Society has become obsessed with risk and peril. Governements are experts at doom-mongering. Stop trying to create zero risk for everything. Stop trying to regulate all human activity. Health and safety should not be the number one priority. Common Sense should be restored to test all things. The precautionary principle which governments are signed up and paralyses innovation should be dumped.

Stop penalizing drivers and treating them as an income source. Remove all speed cameras. Remove all speed limits from motorways as in Germany - if they have better road saftely statistics than we have, let's try it the way they do. Reset police priorities to focus on criminals and not motorists. If you want to get people out of their cars then provive a first rate public transport system that is completely free for everyone and paid for by everyone out of taxes.

Poor countries
Governement humanitarian aid is largely bogus. It makes weaker nations more permeable to western domination and is a means of exerting political control. Stop governement aid and encourage individual aid. Put money where it is needed and not in the hands of corrupt government officials.

There's a start. I await with interest Nick's reply.