Monday, June 22, 2015

Review of "The Fourth Estate"

Watched this in a free screening at the achingly cool venue Passing Clouds, in super-hip Dalston. A zero budget film made over three years by two people with a cheap camera and a ten-year old laptop, it's better than most films about what's wrong with the British media. Lots of talking heads, but really good ones, with smart perspectives, incisive analysis and an ability to talk to the point. Touches on a lot of subjects, including media ownership and regulation, the economics of the media, representations of race, gender and class.

In some ways too long to be really punchy (it's only 80 minutes, but it tries to cover a lot in that time) but too short to do justice to all the things it raises. I would have liked more on the first bit - ownership and regulation - and possibly more on Leveson, which is where it starts. (I was most affected, though, by the short segment in which a young black woman responds to that Lilly Allen video, which I hadn't previously seen - I'd rather ignored the furore over it as being the usual music industry PR shit). Interestingly the two film-makers didn't know that they were going to make a documentary when they started - they thought it might become lots of shorts on YouTube. I hope they do that too, because they've got lots more to say.

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