5 April 2018
‘Week 8: History of World Cinema’ 2018
Last night’s film course with David Stratton resulted in the class watching a film (The Bedford Incident – which I saw just three years ago with SZ3R and my wife) which caught me by surprise (because it was the first time so far I’d seen the film Stratton chose). Only six films are picked from all countries for each year and I was never vexed about the previous choices. I was surprised though by the fact this choice was one of my personal favourites. I’ve previously watched this film at least five times, I’m guessing. For me, it’s one of those great cat-and-mouse battles, like Sleuth, The Thomas Crown Affair or The Fugitive, where a psychological battle is waged. With a Cold War thriller like this, the consequences aren’t about one person against another, or one person against the legal system. They’re about one race against another race and don’t be fooled by the seemingly obvious fact that it is about one man’s ego against the world, because it isn’t. Or maybe it actually is if Finlander is Satan and the Commodore is God. Satan and Jesus, are at odds, seen in 1965 as Americans and Russians, with wisdom from a wise, German, third-party.
It’s very clever to think about how best to say something about the cold war and the post-Bay of Pigs crisis and choose to have a weary German soldier say all the lines which condemn Russia and American, particularly America, 20 years after Germany’s surrender in 1945. To have the voice of reason come out of the mouth of someone who wasn’t part of NATO gives it great credibility. It also make those bits of dialogue less of a target to be laughed-off, dismissed, as patriotic American rhetoric where they can be perceived as holding a superior attitude about themselves against the communists and everyone else.