Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review of 'Free State of Jones'

Watched this after giving up on Ghostbusters - quite a contrast. Serious, thoughtful, lots of politics...a film about the class struggle within the Confederacy as some poor farmers, deserters and escaped slaves band together to defend their own rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of survival (there isn't much happiness in this film). Some very bloody battle and field hospital scenes at the beginning, but after that it's mainly quiet and beautiful to look at. Not obvious in the way that a relationship develops between the charismatic poor white and the escaped house slave woman, and most of that is left to our imagination.

A good account of the politics of Reconstruction, including some things I hadn't heard about - like the Union League in the South.

There's a lot of religion, and some themes that I think will resonate differently with Americans - the poor are able to protect themselves against the depredations of the state because they have guns. And our poor black and white heroes are betrayed by both the Confederacy and the Union; though they briefly think of themselves as fighting for the North, and  raise its flag when they take a town, they are let down and realise they can only look to themselves. I think even a right-wing Tea Party type would find much to enjoy in this film, despite its opposition to racism and the KKK.

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