‘In the Country of Men’ by Hisham Matar

matar

2006, 245 p.

When reading this book I found myself thinking of Ian McEwan’s Atonement or L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between.  An odd connection to make, in many ways, with their golden summers and racketty affluence.  Late 1970s Libya does not at all have the benign somnolence of Edwardian England: instead, it is edgy, tense and brutal.  However, what Matar’s book does share with these other two is the child’s-eye view  that misconstrues events and wreaks an unwitting destruction.

The narrator is nine-year-old Suleiman, the only child of his ‘Baba’ (father) Faraj el Dewani and ‘Mama’ Najwa. His father is emotionally distant and caught up in political activities, and Suleiman prefers his father’s friend Moosa, who although a fellow-activist, has a more demonstrative and affectionate relationship with the young boy.  His mother Majwa is an alcoholic (no small thing in a country where alcohol is banned).

Suleiman is an observer, not understanding the political ramifications of what he is seeing. Sulieman exists in a world of  “quiet panic, as if at any moment the rug could be pulled from beneath my feet”. In the mess that Libya has become since Gaddafi’s overthrow, it’s easy to forget the menace of his regime.

It was good to read about a country and politics that is unfamiliar to me, even though the tropes of innocence, bravery and courage are universal.  The book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and I enjoyed it. It was my selection for my bookgroup, and I was a little apprehensive about how it would be received, but ‘the ladies’ liked it too.  (Unfortunately I left this blogpost half-written, and I’ve forgotten the detail about the book. Sorry!)

Rating: 8.5

Read because: It was a CAE bookgroup.

Some Rare Book Week exhibitions

Melbourne has hosted Rare Book Week between 30 June and 9 July 2017 (an extended week, it seems). As is my usual practice, I missed most of it. It was a beautiful sunny winter’s day on Friday so we popped into the city to see two of the free exhibitions associated with Rare Book Week. Both exhibitions continue beyond 9th July for a few weeks.

First, down to Docklands library to see By a lady: the world of Jane Austen. Docklands is a strange, strange place. It is an urban renewal project built on the site of the old Victoria Dock which itself was built on the drained West Melbourne swamp. The Docklands Authority was constituted in 1991 and several attempts were made to get development off the ground.  Although a number of large companies have moved there, it’s generally regarded as a bit of a dud and a template for what not to do in urban renewal.  I’ve only been once or twice, each time on a cloudy, cold, windy winter’s day.  So how would it shape up on a beautiful winter’s day?

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Well, here we are just after lunch on a Friday afternoon, on the corner of Bourke and Collins Street.  Melburnians will howl “But how can it be on the corner of Bourke and Collins when they run parallel??” but apparently they meet in Docklands.  The city proper was heaving with people- but not a single pedestrian here.

The Docklands library opened in 2014. It’s a beautiful building but with barely a person in it. There was a conference of some sort being conducted in the community room, but other than that, it was very very quiet.

The exhibition itself combined multimedia with displays of different versions of Austen’s works. Of course, the books themselves are precious and so you can only gaze at the beautifully-crafted covers, especially of those of the early 20th century, with their Arts Nouveau influences. The multimedia renderings displayed various pages and their illustrations, which helped you get inside the books more, although one or two of the displays moved through the images too quickly to really appreciate the text and illustrations. It also highlighted for me the Austen family ‘industry’ that has coalesced around the books, with publications of her letters, unpublished works and spin-offs arranged by various Austen relatives.  The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 10.00 – 5.00 until 23 July 2017.

Then back to the real world with people in it, and up to the University of Melbourne.  The exhibition Plotting the Island is on at the Noel Shaw Gallery, Level 1 of Baillieu Library and it closes on 16 July 2017.  Drawing on books, maps and artifacts from the University of Melbourne’s rich archives and collections, it explores the idea of the ‘island’ in both an imaginative and geographical sense. Although there is a focus on Australia, as might be expected from an Australian university, the exhibition also deals with mythology, literature, geography, mapmaking, collecting and anthropology. There was a fascinating film ‘Too Many Captain Cooks’, made in 1988 which combined indigenous artwork with story-telling of the ‘first’, loved,  Captain Cook before all these other Captain Cooks came and took the land.  It’s well worth catching before it closes.

The warmth was draining from the sun as we headed back towards the tram, passing the new Arts West building. We were too close to it to be able to make any sense of the patterning on the outside of the building.  You can see it better in this rather grand video. Fair enough. It’s a stunning building.

 

This Month in Port Phillip 1842: June 1842 Part 2

You might remember that during May there had been the trial of the Plenty Valley Bushrangers and having been found guilty, three of the four remaining bushrangers were sentenced to hang (one was killed during capture). Even though Judge Willis urged immediate execution as a lesson to all would-be bushrangers, this was a highly improper suggestion as the Governor in Sydney had to give his approval first. So much of June 1842 was spent waiting to hear from Sydney whether the prerogative of mercy would be exercised, and if not, when the execution would take place.

It has been fifty years since there has been an execution in Australia, the last being Ronald Ryan‘s hanging on 3 February 1967. However, Australians had a taste of the detailed reporting and in my view, the sheer bloody-mindedness of state execution with the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia in 2015. Although 173 years separate the executions, many of the narrative tropes about execution – particularly those related to penitence and religious conversion –  were just as present in 2015 as they were in Port Phillip in 1842.

In June 1842, although the excitement of the trial had abated, there were ongoing short reports about the condemned men in jail.  On 20th May the Port Phillip Herald reported that the condemned criminals were visited daily by three different clergymen, the Anglican minister Rev Thomson,  Rev James Forbes the Presbyterian minister, and Rev. Stephens, the Catholic priest. The paper reported that the culprits had not, as yet, shown the slightest sign of repentance. In fact, one was annoyed at his spiritual instructor questioning him about the number of robberies he had committed. They were confined together in a room about 10 feet square, the same as occupied by the “black murderers”recently executed in January. They were heavily ironed, with a constable in the room day and night and a guard at the door.

On 24th May, the Herald reported:

Since our last notice of these unfortunate men, we are happy to learn from the Rev.  Mr Forbes, who is unceasing in his visits at their cell, that they are shewing a marked improvement in their conduct, and attend now with much interest to their religious exercises. [PPH 24/5/42 p 3]

By June 7, they were reported as being “all truly penitent”. They sent for Mr Fowler, who had been shot through the cheek and ear during the capture of the bushrangers. They “fell on their knees and begged his forgiveness. Mr Fowler of course forgave them” [PPH 7/6/42]. Eventually the overland mail brought the news that the men were to be hanged on 28th June.

On the day of execution, the men were woken before day break by Rev Forbes, and Rev Wilkinson, the Wesleyan minister who was now included in the clerical contingent. The sacrament was administered to Jepps and Ellis by the Rev Mr Thomson. Just before 8.00 a.m. they were taken into the yard and their irons were struck off.  Jepps and Ellis undertook this with fortitude, but Fogarty wept bitterly for friends left behind rather than for despair of death.  The open cart drew up to the door, bearing the three cedar coffins. The men, who were “decently clothed” did not wear the white gowns worn by the indigenous prisoners Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener who had preceded them to the gallows four months earlier. They did, however, wear white caps.  At 8.00 a.m. the order was given to ‘mark’ and the procession headed off with the military at the front and the mounted police at the rear.  Reverends Thomson, Forbes and Wilkinson walked arm-in-arm in front of the soldiers, while Rev Mr Stephens was on horseback.  The route was a mile in length, and unlike with the aboriginal prisoners who travelled in a covered wagon, the men were visible to all on the back of the cart, sitting on their own coffins, during the half-hour trip.  At the top of Lonsdale Street, the prisoners were ordered to look over their right shoulders to see “the fatal spot where their career of life was to be closed”.  Jepps and Ellis knelt on the ground with the “three reverend gentlemen” and prayed, while Fogarty was engaged with the Catholic priest at a short distance. [PPH 1/7/42]

The Rev. Mr Forbes appeared more painfully distressed than the poor victims of misdirected talents themselves; he had been led to take a great interest in the fate of Ellis, and had been unceasing in his endeavour to bring him to that sincere state of repentance which is the mainstay of the Christian creed [PPG 29/6/42].

One of the tropes of execution scenes is the ‘last dying speech’ ritual, conducted at the base of the scaffold.  In this heavily orchestrated performance, the speech was always a moment of  unpredictability because neither the clergy nor the authorities could control what the condemned prisoner was about to say.  But they need have had no fears about Jepps.

About nine o’clock, the prisoners having concluded the prayers, Jepps, taking a final adieu of his spiritual advisers, turned to the assemblage, and in a short but emphatic appeal to young men, exhorted them to take warning by his untimely end, of the fearful consequences of bad company, and the wretched end that awaits all who like him, deviate from the path of rectitude. He expressed himself resigned to his fate, and died in the belief of the Lord Jesus Christ. [PPG 29/6/42]

The Catholic Priest administered the sacrament to Fogarty on the drop, after which “he seemed more composed” while the Episcopalian minister read aloud the service for the dead. At the appointed signal the executioner pulled away the platform and the men were “ushered into eternity”. The Gazette reported that the men died in less than a minute, the scaffold having been “under the Sheriff’s directions, been constructed so as to avoid any of the extremely painful incidents which marked the last execution in the province.” [PPG 29/6/42] . However, the Patriot reported that Fogarty  suffered about three minutes after the drop fell,  in consequence of the knot of the rope shifting. [PPP 30/6/42]. According to the Patriot,

a company of the native police under the command of Messrs. Dana and Le Soeuf arrived from the station on the Merri Creek shortly after the drop fell. The men looked clean and well, and appeared to observe the awful sight before them with terror and dismay [PPP 30/6/42]

Reports of the numbers in the crowd varied between 1000 and 2000. The Patriot reported that very few women were present, while the Herald was shocked that so many females were present, although they were of the “rank of servant”. The Herald also complained that the men remained on the scaffold until the burial service had been concluded so that the crowd could see “the recumbent position of Ellis, the convulsive start of Jepps and the open and closing of the hand of Fogarty.”[PPH 1/7/42]

And so, the second batch of executions in 1842 were completed.  It was not to be long until the next execution was to occur, the last in Port Phillip for several years.

‘An Isolated Incident’ by Emily Maguire

maguire

2016, 243 p

The reviewing cycle for a much-talked-about book seems to move so quickly that, after a few months, everything seems to have been already said and people are moving onto the next new much-talked-about book. So I come- at last-  to ‘An Isolated Incident’, which was shortlisted for the Stella Prize, longlisted for the Miles Franklin and commended for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction.

It all makes me feel rather outgunned when I say that my response is rather lukewarm.

You probably already know that it’s about a murder of a young woman, Bella Michaels, an aged-care worker in the small country town of Strathdee.  Despite being described by the publishers as a ‘psychological thriller’, this book doesn’t really fill that description at all. Instead, it is the description of grief and the surrounding media manipulation of a murder report.  We, as readers, know as much or as little about the murder as the police do.

It is narrated from the alternating viewpoints of the murdered girl’s sister Chris, a barmaid at the local pub in Strathdee, and May, the journalist dispatched from the city to report on the crime.  The book is arranged chronologically, starting with daily entries on the 6th April, then becoming less frequent as media interest in the case wanes. Chris’s sections are written in the first person, using a conversational tone and capturing the cadences of a fairly rough, indifferently educated country woman. May’s narrative is written in the third person, interspersed with the trashy interviews and articles that she has written over this time.

For much of it,  I felt as if I were reading an article at the supermarket checkout or watching Sixty Minutes. I know that this was probably intentional on the part of the author, drawing readers into the voyeurism of crime-watching and armchair speculation.  This is just one of the things that the book does well. It also captures well the lazy, casual misogyny of everyday life, magnified further in a small town, and the juxtaposition of an active, consensual  female sexuality alongside non-consensual sexual creepiness.  Sexuality was used to manipulate by both men and women in this book.  She also puts her finger on – although does not explore further – the connections between offences that are portrayed as only “isolated incidents”

This had nothing to do with what happened to Bella and what happened to Bella had nothing to do with Tegan Miller [another woman murdered in Strathdee] and none of it had to do with the rich Sydney housewife left out to rot in the street which had nothing to do with the Nigerian girls stolen as sex slaves or the Indian woman eviscerated on a bus or the man grabbing women off the streets of Brunswick.

None of it connected, she knew, and yet, and yet, it felt like it. It felt to May, that there was a thread connecting it all, and if she could find it she could follow it back, see where it began. Rip it out and examine its source. p.343

“Rip it out and examine its source”: a noble aim, but not one achieved in this book.  Sometimes I feel as if I’ve read a book that has been consciously written for a book-group discussion or to air “an issue”.  I couldn’t quite shake this feeling when reading this book.  Don’t get me wrong- I am a member of a bookgroup myself, and know that I would happily participate in the discussions that this book is likely to generate for the next couple of years.  However, I don’t like feeling that I’ve been targeted as a market.

There’s the enjoyment that a reader has during reading, as distinct from the discussion and contemplation afterwards. I found that the book dragged and it was really only in the last 1/3 that I found myself becoming more engaged.  Until then, I was underwhelmed by the vacuity of both women, and irked by the supernatural angle that was introduced halfway through. Just as the case ambled along, with little progress, so too did this book.   Perhaps this is one of those books where its strength lies after reading it, rather than while reading it.

Sourced from: Yarra Plenty Regional Library

My rating: 7/10

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I’ve added this to the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017.

Colonial Frontier Massacres in Eastern Australia 1788-1872

The University of Newcastle has a fantastic new site showing colonial massacres on the frontier in Eastern Australia. You can access it at

https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/colonialmassacres/

The map shows the approximate location of massacres of both indigenous people and settlers in the eastern states. As the creators explain in the introduction, their criteria for a massacre is six people.  Why six? To lose six people (or 20%) from a  ‘hearth’ group of twenty people renders that group vulnerable to further attack and diminishes their ability to hunt for food, reproduce and carry out their ceremonial obligations. The data is drawn from a range of sources including newspapers, parliamentary reports, the memoirs and correspondence of settlers, missionaries and Protectors, and oral and visual Aboriginal accounts.  The reliability of the source is rated with a star system.

The site makes quite clear that it is a work in progress, and subject to change through ongoing research.  Fascinating, and sobering.

This Month in Port Phillip in 1842: June 1842

In my report for April 1842 I mentioned that a three-month licence had been granted for the performance of amateur theatricals at the Pavilion Theatre (also known as the Theatre Royal). There was always official squeamishness about the raffishness of the theatre and those who trod its boards.  In a valiant attempt to keep the theatre as ‘respectable’ as possible, this licence was for Monday night performances only, using amateur thespians (albeit under the directorship of Mr Buchanan). The whole proceedings were overseen by a board of stewards, most of whom were entrepreneurs or newspaper editors.

The Eagle Tavern and Theatre Royal

The Eagle Tavern and Theatre Royal’ by W. F. E. Liardet (1799-1878) Source: State Library of Victoria

By June this three-month opportunity was drawing to a close. The Port Phillip Gazette reported a meeting of the stewards on 18 June in order to make plans for the future operation of the theatre:

The stewards of the Amateur Theatricals held a meeting in the Pavilion, at noon, on Thursday last, to audit the accounts, take steps for the renewal of the license, and order the entertainments for the closing weeks of the season, so as to invest them with the greatest amount of attraction. His Honor the Superintendent will be solicited to patronize the theatre on one night; the St. Andrew’s Society are prepared to support it on another occasion; the Odd Fellows and the Sons of St. Patrick will be called upon in turn; and the whole is expected to close with a grand amateur performance, in which histrionic talent will be displayed to an advantage hitherto unwitnessed in the province.[PPG 18/06/42]

Unfortunately for the stewards and their claims to respectability for the theatre, there was another little contretemps in the theatre-pit the very evening of the stewards’ meeting.

On Thursday night last, the Pavilion was made the scene of a confusion which has been unparalleled in the district. During the course of the afterpiece in which Miss Sinclair was taking the part of Mannette, some parties in the pit, sitting close to the stage, made use of offensive expressions, accompanied by notes of purposed disapprobation, that obliged the actress to stop and complain of the interruption ; Mr. Stephen, the honorary manager, observing one of the young men attempting to repeat his sallies, ordered a constable down into the pit to take him into charge. A number of gentlemen gathered round the offender, and prevented his capture ; the pit, boxes, and gallery immediately rose, and the uproar became general : the constables dealt blows; and the parties attacked, grappled with the peace officers: the throng in the pit, prevented any egress; and the performers, driven off the stage, dropped the curtain. One or two gentlemen having at length got order, Mr. Stephen addressed the audience; defended his own course in having given the party into custody, and expressed the determination of the Stewards, not to allow these repeated insults to themselves and the attendants to pass over. He begged them all to recollect, that the renewal of the license given to them for charitable purposes, was under discussion by a bench of Magistrates ; and, now that the principals of the riot were known, and would be dealt with at the Police Office, he trusted that they would not prolong the confusion. The performers, headed by Mr. Buckingham and Miss Sinclair, coming on again, sung a finale chorus, and the house was dismissed. Parties who have been in the habit of frequenting the Theatre, and exhibiting uproarious demonstrations of criticism, have been more than once warned not to push their conduct beyond the verge of decency. Had, however, the offenders in this instance, contented themselves with the common motions of inebriety, we should have considered a little wholesome exposure at the Police Office, next morning, quite sufficient ; but, what excuse is there for such an unmanly attack upon a woman? The pot valiancy, which led a number of gentlemen to shield the offenders, was not unexpected ; but, they never could have meant intentionally, to defend the cowardly attack which was made by their friends. [PPG 18/06/42]

The matter ended up before the Police Court the next day

A lengthened investigation took place at the Police Office yesterday forenoon, into the riot which had been occasioned at the theatre on the previous evening. The stewards representing that they were not anxious to press the charge, if a proper apology were made, Mr. Graves, who with Mr. Moles, were very conspicuous in annoying the ladies, took advantage of the reprieve opened to him. Mr. Davies, however, on the part of the performers, not thinking that an apology to the Court was sufficient to satisfy their interests, pressed the charge against the latter gentleman as having headed the fray. Upon the charge being substantiated, Mr. Moles was fined £5. The stewards will be justified, we consider, in denying these parties admission for the future. Several gentle men were also brought before the bench upon informations laid by the constables, for having both in the theatre, and subsequent to the performance, out of the theatre, assaulted the constables, opposed them in their duties, and otherwise acted in a disorderly manner. [PPG 18/06/42]

Mr Moles was fined, but a Mr McLauren, whom the actors also thought culpable, seemed to have escaped punishment.  The actors brought his actions before the public through a letter placed in the newspapers:

Letter to Mr McLauren. “We the members of the Amateur [Players?] feel it our duty to call upon you, in consequence of your gross conduct during the progress of the performance on Thursday evening last, to apologize to us [..iting?] for the very ungentlemanly manner you insulted the ladies of this company by your drunken remarks, otherwise, we shall feel it our duty to charge you before the Police Magistrate with obstructing the constables in the execution of their duty, also creating a disturbance in the Theatre. And we beg to call your attention to Major St John’s upright decision in the [?] of Mr Moles, and we shall also deem it expedient to publish an account of your conduct in the Melbourne journals. Your immediate reply is required. We are, Sir, Yours &c &c, George Buckingham, John Davies, James Southall, William John Miller, Richard Smith, James Warman, H. S. Avins, Robert Staisby, Richard Capper, Joseph Harper. [PPG 18/06/42]

Mr McLauren, however,  was snippy in his reply:

MR McLAURENS REPLY.  If I am called upon by the Stewards of the Amateur Theatricals, I may favour them with an apology, but I do not intend in the [?] instant to confer with subordinates. J. M. McLauren.  [PPG 18/06/42]

There was another letter of apology, but this was from the theatre manager, Mr Buckingham, who had come on stage to remonstrate with the rowdies and to protect the feelings of his actors:

To the Editor of the Port Phillip Gazelle.
Sir, — I trust that I may be permitted, through the medium of your journal, to reply to the observation made by the Patriot and Herald with reference to my addressing the audience at the theatre during the performance of “Therese” on Thursday week. The apology I made upon the occasion, I had hoped would have saved me from further animadversion, nor should I again advert to the circumstance, did not the censure appear to be unaccompanied by any palliation. It therefore is due from me to the public generally to remark, that the frequent interruptions from a portion of the audience, who seemed bent on annoying the performers by remarks which, from the propinquity of the stage to the seats in the pit, could not fail to he heard, compelled me to adopt the only course which at the moment presented itself. However ” improper and unusual” it may be for a performer to destroy the illusion of his character by a personal appeal to the auditory, still it should be borne in mind that the actor whose mind is wholly absorbed in the study of his performance, upon the recurrence of disapprobation, such as that complained of, is placed in a trying and difficult position. The fault, however, in this instance, was atoned for by the expression of my regret, and the public who received the ‘amende’ favourably, might have been spared any further appeal to their indignation. I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient Servant,
GEO. BUCKINGHAM.

However, he didn’t get much joy from the editors of the Port Phillip Patriot who issued an editorial response to his letter directly underneath:

Mr. Buckingham has been too long on the stage to be ignorant that his very intemperate conduct on the occasion referred to, was calculated rather to augment than allay the mischief he com-plains of. However annoying the expression of disapprobation, deserved or undeserved, may be to a performer it is his ‘weird’, and he must ‘dree’ it in silence, relying, as he may safely do, that if it is unjust it will not be tolerated by any well disposed audience. The practice of interrupting the performance and addressing the audience whenever a solitary hiss, or other mark of disapprobation is heard, is altogether intolerable, and would not be permitted to occur a second time by any less good-natured audience than that which assembles at the Melbourne Theatre. If the occasion in question had been the first on which Mr. Buckingham was guilty of this decorum, we should have considered his apology sufficient, but it was matter of complaint before, and it was necessary that steps should be taken to prevent its recurrence in future. The Stewards will, doubtless, to the extent of their ability, protect the performers from insult, and put a stop to the unseemly interruptions by the blackguards in the disguise of gentlemen, which have given rise to this discussion; but if Mr. Buckingham, or Mr. any body else, so far forgets himself in future as to address himself to the audience without a legitimate cause for so doing, he may lay his account-with being hooted off the stage, and the verdict of any impartial jury in the world will be “served him right,”— Ed. P.P.P. [20/6/42]

On 20th June the Port Philip Patriot published an editorial of support for the extension of the licence, which would be decided the next day.

THE AMATEUR THEATRE.

The Magistrates meet in Petty Sessions, to-morrow, to determine as to the propriety of granting an extension of the license of the Melbourne Amateur Theatre. The Theatre has now been open for a period of three months, and, we believe, every person who has visited it, will admit that the performances have far surpassed his expectation, and that the audiences have been in every respect orderly ; indeed with the solitary exception of the disturbance referred to in another column, we have never in any part of the world seen an audience so uniformly quiet and orderly. The persons who occasioned the disturbance referred to, have been shewn that they will not be suffered so to misconduct themselves in future, and we doubt not the lesson will prove a salutary one. As there can be no reason why the inhabitants of Melbourne should be deprived of this their only public amusement, while the authorities have assurance that no evil consequences are to be apprehended from the Theatre being kept open, it would be hard if the extension of the license asked for should be refused. We do not, however, apprehend any such refusal, for we know that every magistrate who has visited the Theatre, has expressed himself most agreeably surprised and entertained, and it is not likely that those who have not been present will oppose the renewal of the license which the others are disposed to grant. [PPP 20/6/42]

However, by the end of June the stewards needed to wind up the season.

The Amateur Theatre — The performances at the Theatre on Friday night, the last night of the season, were under the patronage of the St. Andrew’s Society of Australia Felix, and the house being both very numerously and fashionably attended, the whole affair came off with great eclat. The former license having expired, the Theatre will be closed for a month or six weeks, within which period the renewal recommended by the Bench of Magistrates at the late Petty Sessions, is expected to arrive. In the interim the Stewards purpose effecting extensive alterations in the house, with the view of affording increased accommodation. The pit and the stage will be lowered so as to cut off all communication between the former and the boxes, and slips will be put on a level with, but separate from the gallery, thus enabling family parties to attend without being subject to the risk of annoyance of any kind. Care will also be taken to secure an efficient body of performers, so that in every respect the Theatre may be rendered deserving of the public support. [PPP 4/7/42]

 It took until 29 July for the permit  for the next season to arrive. This time it was a permit for twelve months, and the theatre was planned to reopen on Monday 7th August.

Movie: ‘Their Finest’

I really enjoyed this brilliantly cast movie. I’m always attracted to films set in the Blitz, and this had it all- laughter, a little tear, some feminist bolshyness and a good sense of fun about propaganda, images and the meaning of life.  Not deep and meaningful, but good fun

My rating: – hang it all! 4.5 stars