As much as I’ve been on a tare about finance, I’ve been watching some pretty awesome class struggle content on television. By which I mean streaming on my computer.
Here’s some highlights from the last few months.
1) I just finished I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach (netflix). It’s about an old ex-carpenter navigating the UK’s welfare system. Holy god it’s sad but really amazing. Made in 2016, Corbyn told Theresa May to watch it to understand what working people have to go through. I’m currently in the midst of a Loach binge. I watched his earlier Looks and Smiles on youtube. Not as good as IDB but quality rhythm and introduction to his oeuvre.
2) Damnation, a series on netflix, is some hellfire class struggle content. Set in 1931, rural Iowa, a communist preacher organizes a farmer strike. Pinkerton agents come after him and it’s a romp.
3) Watch Rome if you can get it on HBO. It came out before GOT and I dare say it’s better. The characters are better. The history of Julius and Augustus Caeser (not to mention Marc Antony and Cleopatra) is really great.
4) Hustlers is an excellent sex worker revenge tale amidst finance capitalism. Based on a true story of dancers who hustle bankers to make ends meet, it’s got glitz, glam, and worker glory. I had to rent it on (sigh) amazon.
5) The Thick of It is the British comedy series that inspired Veep. It’s a look into 90s British governance, basically the absurdity of the Third Way. Free on youtube.
6) Fall of Eagles was a really surprising, charming, and well-acted look at the fall of Austrian, German, and Russian monarchies through World War I. Made in the late 70s for the BBC, it’s free on youtube. Come for the history of the Russian Revolution, but stay for a young Patrick Stewart playing Lenin!
7) Trotsky is like if Quentin Tarantino did a soap opera biopic of the Russian revolutionary. It’s pure pulp, but also tells the story well. (netflix)
8) Metropolis is a classic 1927 German film depicting life in a futuristic state. Strange politics I’d say, but stunning and hugely influential in the history of film. I watched it at Kanopy, which is a free streaming service with your library card. (Plus, the new season of Babylon Berlin, which you should definitely watch, is sort of loosely based on how it was made.)
9) Bernardo Bertolucci is an Italian marxist filmmaker. I went on a little binge of his more political films: A Normal Man and 1900 are rich, operatic looks at Italy’s fascist period.
10) If you like I, Daniel Blake then you should watch Our Friends in the North. It’s a BBC series tracing 40 years of British political economy, focusing on housing struggles in the north of England, focusing on four friends and their changing relationships through the decade. Free on youtube.