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"Everything is pessimistic. Your grandma stocks up on washing-up liquid in case there’s another Holocaust."
October 25, 2009 4:48 PM   Subscribe

Marc Isaacs is a British documentary maker with a talent for making poignant, revealing films about people. You can watch his new film Men In The City ‒ an affecting and beautifully shot profile of four very different London workers ‒ on the iPlayer, following its broadcast on the BBC yesterday. You also shouldn't miss his BAFTA-nominated short film Lift, filmed entirely from within an elevator inside a block of flats, and All White In Barking, a study from an English town with high immigration and strong BNP support ( pertinently ). Another interview with Marc.
posted by sleepcrime (6 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only..."

So much for that plan. Once again, the concept of it being a world wide web eludes the media.

At least the youtube stuff can be watched anywhere and it seems pretty good.
posted by Salmonberry at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2009


Those outside the UK can watch his new film on The Box or UKNova.
posted by smackfu at 6:07 PM on October 25, 2009


This is great. I'd never heard of Marc Isaacs before and these films are fascinating.

(The part in Lift where a man said that his favorite childhood memory was taking part in a recorder competition was quite brilliant)
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 8:52 PM on October 25, 2009


Wow sleepcrime..."All white in Barking" is a poignant film. A beautiful film about prejudice - if such a thing is possible. I'm just struck by how lonely everybody is in this film...all this humanity with their hearts displaced. Mistrust and suspicion and probably a little outright hostility, but everyone in the picture is tender and just *this* far away from actually making a genuine human connection with their neighbours, but they can't actually get over their own stories long enough to really see each other.

It reminds me of the people I know in the central Interior of British Columbia. Years ago I was part of a federal government team making treaties with First Nations. This is pretty bigoted rancher country, full of lots of quiet and pervasive racism to be sure, but several times I had to confront my own prejudices about "rednecks.". My work was reaching out to non-native stakeholders and consulting with them and connecting with them, so I had lots of stories of being blown away by people's humanity.

I remember one gathering we hosted with all elected officials and one of the local mayors got into a really deep conversation about his prejudices. He felt trapped as a public official. He was often invited to the local Sikh temple (lots of Sikhs working in the forest industry) and he was always frightened to go. As a result, people thought he was racist, but in a moment of utter candour, he shared his deepest fear that he was afraid to make a mistake. He was afraid of being ridiculed.

I'm so struck by how these baseless fears are so poisonous to community in places like BC's Cariboo and Barking, Essex. Human beings are funny creatures. Most of our prejudices are not born of outright hate but of a touching inability to love.
posted by salishsea at 11:07 PM on October 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm just struck by how lonely everybody is in this film...all this humanity with their hearts displaced. Mistrust and suspicion and probably a little outright hostility, but everyone in the picture is tender and just *this* far away from actually making a genuine human connection with their neighbours, but they can't actually get over their own stories long enough to really see each other.

This rings very true. There's a part in the film where a white British couple explain why they can't visit their neighbours -- what if their neighbours served food they didn't like, and would it be rude if they refused it? They explain that they couldn't just bring round a bottle of wine to their neighbours, because they didn't know if they drank alcohol and might offend them. Quite trivial issues, but they stand for a much deeper uncertainty and fear. It was a saddening/frustrating look at how people can trap themselves into not connecting with other people in their community.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 1:12 PM on October 26, 2009


By the way sleepcrime, excellent first post. Thank you.
posted by salishsea at 8:49 PM on October 26, 2009


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