Political Film Society - Newsletter #307 - June 1, 2008

June 1, 2008


War, Inc.With some clever lines, War Inc., directed by Joshua Seftel, should have been a winner. But with so much disrespect for Iraqis throughout, antihero Brand Hauser (played by John Cusack) plays the fool. Initial credits establish the central premise that war in the future is primarily a bonanza for giant corporations, who take over the fighting from regular armies because governments are their regional subsidiaries. Tamerlane, the corporation in the film, implants chips in its subjects to control them. Walken (played by Ben Kingsley) is the American viceroy of Turaqistan. CIA agent Hauser has been hired by former Vice President (played by Dan Aykroid) to assassinate the oil minister, Omar Sharif (played by Lubomir Neikov), who wants his country to profit by cutting out Tamerlane. If there is a real plot in the midst of all the senseless violence, it is the impending marriage of Middle Eastern pop star Yonica Babyyeah (played by Hilary Duff) and the son of a warlord and Hauser’s rescue of kidnapped journalist Natalie Hegalhuzen (played by Marisa Tomei) that provide fleeting cinematic tension. MH

Before the RainsHenry Moores (played by Linus Roache) runs a tea plantation in rural, upcountry Kerala. When the film begins, he is about to sign a loan for the funds to build a road so that he can make millions by supplying the fragile crops of cardamom and other spices to the world market. To obtain the cooperation of T. K. Neelan (played by Rahul Bose), his chief assistant, he offers to name the road in his honor. However, he has been having an affair with sensual Sajani (played by Nandita Das), his housekeeper, while his wife Laura (played by Jennifer Ehle) has been out of town, and the two appear very much in love. Sajani, however, works at the Moores estate by day and returns to keep house for her suspicious husband by night. On the fateful day when Moores and Sajani drive off to squeeze honey from a honeycomb, they make love in a beautiful pond below a touristic waterfall. Unknown to them, two young boys spot them and report what they see to members of the village. Soon after Laura returns from her out-of-town trip to find her husband sexually unavailable, Sajani’s husband beats her to find out the identity of her lover. When Sajani suddenly appears one night at Moores’s abode on the estate, hoping to be taken in, the noir ending unfolds with gunfire, a village trial, and Laura’s departure with their son, but stops before the inevitable demise of Neelan and Moores. Throughout the film, directed by Santosh Sivan, the theme of India’s struggle for independence from British exploitation is unrelenting. MH

Sangre de mi SangreAfter a payoff to an American border agent, a truckload of illegals enter New York, including Pedro (played by Jorge Adrián Espindola) and Juan (played by Armando Hernandez), who are attractive seventeen-year-olds. During the trip, Pedro falls asleep, Juan steals his knapsack, and in Brooklyn assumes his identity as the long-lost son of Diego (played by Jesús Ochoa), whose mother told him was the owner a French restaurant who had been sending regular sums of money home. Diego, however, is a rotund kitchen helper, lives in squalor, and hates Pedro’s mother for twotiming him. At first, Diego has no interest in a son, but Juan cleverly gets money by stealing purses on the subway and charms Diego with his good looks and amusing stories. Meanwhile, Pedro tries to track down his father with the help of Magda (played by Paola Mendoza), a drug-addicted prostitute. Inevitably, the two boys meet again, and an unhappy ending underscores what the film is all about—what illegal immigrants must endure to survive. Directed by Christopher Zalla, the film is also known as Padre Neustro. MH