Wednesday 23 August 2017

The State (episode 3)

Isn’t it odd that as soon as you realise that someone who you’ve admired is a run-of-the-mill antisemite your admiration instantly slams into reverse?
For example I used to like Brian Sewell’s acerbic critiques of pretentious art until he said something about “Manchester’s greedy Jews. I mean how many of Manchester’s greedy Jews would a self-regarding old queen who makes a living out of sneering actually know? See what I mean? One minute you like, next you don’t.

Anyway, this might apply to me and Peter Kosmisnsky. I have to admit his films have their good points. Like Ken Loach, perhaps. But having seem the third episode of ‘The State’ I’m wondering if I’ve been over-estimating him.

Yesterday I gave the film credit for aiming beyond the superficial message, “it’s so awful no-one’s gonna want to run away and join Isis”. I put forward the hypothesis that he was sending a more ambitious and perhaps subliminal signal, i.e., ISIS has got (the real) Islam all wrong; true Islam is peaceful.

Maybe, after all, he is only saying is that joining Islamic State is less romantic than running away to join the Foreign Legion, (isn’t that what the disenfranchised used to do?) so don’t do it. 

Anyway the drama slid into farce during last night’s episode. Two scenes in particular were positively cartoonish. Number one was a ‘slave market’ where the histrionic sobbing and cowering reminded me of a rather sophisticated sixth-form production of Les Mis.

Number two. The prize for the most implausible scene showed our feisty female heroine, the doctor (no, not that doctor) risking death by making a clandestine, unchaperoned visit to the only ‘nice’ man she’d come across since she arrived, a doctor colleague at the hospital. She had a cunning plan. To avoid becoming the second wife of a horrid scary man, she proposed marriage to her  unmarried colleague, only to deduce from his momentary hesitation a deadly secret that no-one else had ever spotted. “Are you gay?” (He was.) I can’t be the only one who found that scenario particularly laughable. 

There are several other unanswered questions, too numerous to list, though I would quite like to know what happened to the defiant ‘singing’ slave when the non-English-speaking shahid went to paradisio, leaving his distraught widow behind.

I do understand all those people who say they’re not going to watch it on principle, but I’m not one of them. Let me rephrase that. “I’m not a refusenik, but I can understand those that are.” 

I caught the tail end of Channel 4 News, where an interview with Peter Kosminsky was just winding up. Unfortunately I missed it, but I wonder if he was justifying the film and/or defending his own credibility as an authority on the subject, as he did with The Promise. 


  1. I've watched it all. Too much propaganda for ISIS for my liking. For example, the lead British jihadi baulks at a bout of throat cutting. 'You will see why we do this', he is told. They go to a room with a pile of male corpses, tortured and killed by Assad's men we are told. Then on to room of female corpses, raped and killed by Assad's men. So there you are. The murderous barbaric death cult would never think of cutting a throat but for the actions of Assad's men. ISIS commander gives a speech urging his men to think of these people when engaged in the upcoming battle, then it's shouts of 'Allahu Akhbar'from the men.

    And British jihadis - aren't they just the best? The lead character buys the woman and her daughter at the slave market to save them from his comrades, takes them home and fixes them a meal. Later, he tells the woman if she converts to Islam she can be free and go look for her husband, who also fell into ISIS's hands. Excuse me? The chances him being alive in ISIS's hands are what, Mr Scriptwriter?

    I'll watch tonight in the vain hope of seeing this woman tell the British jihadi to stick his Islam where the sun don't shine. The longest of long shots.

    1. Glad I didn't watch it from that description! I was expecting that sort of moral equivalence.Presumably at some point they will suggest it is the Despicable West that props up regimes like Assad's...whatever the evidence might be on that score. Then the "moral equation" will be complete: the Conservatives are just as bad as ISIS.

  2. I took a look at it tonight, obviously I'd not read the memo since it just confirmed my (probably racist) assumption that they are all animals.
    However, the problem is that faced with the hard truth, white liberals have to revert to type and conclude that it must be all our fault as people with brown faces couldn't possibly be so wicked without the white man putting them up to it first.
    I suspect this narrative will be played out.


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