Beloved Enemy (Alan Clarke, 1981)
Evidently Clarke’s spat with the BBC over Scum didn’t last too long, as soon enough he returned to do this very prescient political drama for Play for Today. Based on Charles Levinson’s non-fiction book Vodka Cola, Beloved Enemy takes us in to the shifty world of top-level business, as a British company seeks to do a deal with the Soviet Union to build a factory in the Eastern Bloc in order to unshackle them from troublesome unions, a deal that may involve the handing over military laser technology to the enemies of the west. It’s probably Clarke’s most explicitly political work of his entire career (Well, if we’re not counting his theatre adaptations), as it delves into the murky world of back door business and arms deals that Western capitalism involves itself in, often in conjunction with its supposed enemies. It lays bare the absolute callous nature of international corporations, in which morality is laid aside in favour of profit, and agreements are made with countries such as the Soviet Union as a way of avoiding accountability from governments and trade unions at home. In fact such companies view the authoritarian Soviet regime as ideal, as their repression of unions and dissidents will only serve to increase the amount of money they’ll make, even as they trade away valued military secrets for the almighty sterling (Or dollar). It may be a very didactic film, but Clarke’s minimalist style means that the whole thing feels incredibly sincere in its condemnation of both Thatcherite/Reagnite economic’s effects on their domestic populations, and also their inherent hypocrisy as their pursuit of wealth pushes them towards pacts with authoritarian regimes. Hence you can see why this film is so relevant today, as the UK deals in arms to Saudi Arabia, and the US gets close with similar regimes in the Philippines and Turkey. Either way, this is very much recommended. #film#cinema#movie#madefortv#filmblog#filmcollection#filmoftheday#filmmaking#filmreview#filmphotography#filmtime#belovedenemy#alanclarke#1981#grahamcrowden#tonydoyle#oscarquitak#stevenberkoff#political#drama#playfortoday
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