Friday, January 19, 2018

A condition of stuck-ness



When I was a student in Spain, I remember attending a meeting that was called for a student union on campus. It was nothing very radical, i seem to remember. The students were just asking for somewhere where they could have a beer and drink a cup of coffee.

That didn't stop armed police breaking into the lecture hall where the meeting was being held. We were lucky in that we could all escape through another door. And for weeks afterwards I remember an armed policeman dressed as a stormtrooper - Nazi helmet, jackboots and all - marching up and down the aisles of the university library.

Those were the last years of the of the Franco dictatorship, and the authorities' main concern was to foster a climate of dull despair.

All this came to mind when I was introducing THE EXTERMINATING ANGELin the Filmhouse last night. Like the characters in that film, I said, we seem to be trapped in a political situation from which we cannot escape. We know things are wrong, and each day they become more and more unbearable... and yet somehow we cannot get out. Nothing seems to change.

I was living under Franco when I last saw that film; and now I'm living under a very different, and far more effective, form of dictatorship whose dimensions I can only dimly see or understand.

The rebellious young woman who led them out of the trap in the film did so by somehow reconnecting them with hope and with their own deep desires.

"We want to get out, don't we", she was saying, "We want to go home".

And they did....


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