This film came and went from our local cinema with undue speed so, having been encouraged to see it, I could only find it showing at the Odean Beckenham at 11am on Tuesday. That happens to the the ‘Seniors’ slot and since I clocked my reboot last November to Geoffle 6.0 I’m eligible. The Textiliste is, however, a spring chicklet by comparison but she came as my carer.
It’s an all round win, this. £3 for each of us including tea and custard creams. The downside is a cinema full of, mostly, women with hairdos that are both a fire hazard and as impenetrable as an African acacia. And the noise. Geez, and I thought giggling teens annoying. Get a bunch of Dorises out for the day and you could drown out an Airbus 380.
And when the management started showing I, Daniel Blake in error, well…
‘ere, it’s the wrong bleedin’ movie’
‘Mable, you near the door? Tell that Kevin ‘e’s bollocked again. And grab us a bourbon, dearie, while you’re there.’
The incompetent Kevin having been put in his place, we settled to the rustle of support stockings in lieu of popcorn, and the slurp of ill fitting dentures in place of litres of fizzy pop as the film began.
And boy was it good. Now I studied this period of history, the immediate post war Cold War and collapse of Emprie at A level but the Seretse Khama farrago passed me by. It’s a super story, full of great characters, shady and shabby politicos, expedient politics, a sickening sycophancy towards the Apartheid tilting South Africa under DF Malan, and some wonderful filmography. Botswana – Bechuanaland as was – a large, sparsely populated country – is gorgeous and, well, I welled up on more than one occasion. I can understand the ‘bigger picture’ given the times people were living through. The idea of South Africa tipping towards Moscow would have horrified any British government and US administration but to treat a whole country with such contempt. Well I for one am horrified. Yet another blot on the British escutcheon.
What it did bring home was the part played by maverick MPs in keeping Khama’s plight in the public eye when in lifetime exile in London, in this case Tony Benn. We need men like Benn, men who stand up for principles against expediency. Men indeed like Corbyn before he became a party leader and in sway to the corruption of the party whips. We need a press that can disclose what the government of the day doesn’t want to hear. It may be a truth, a part truth but if it shines a light on a government’s own attempts to control the truth we need it. As we live in times where there are understandable concerns about press behaviour post Dowler it isn’t surprising there are calls for curbs. But in the glare of the unflattering orange light emanating from the White House just now we need to be careful, tread softly about our press. Their right to be unpleasant, to be wrong was hard won and as this film showed we should be reluctant to see it curtailed by the main beneficiary of their being neutered. Governments.
See it. You’ll love the love story and learn again some valuable history lessons.
As for ice cream it didn’t really go with the biccies but, you know what, I didn’t actually miss it.