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Archive for July 23rd, 2009

“the corroded state of the british imagination”

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The last few lines of Anthony Lane’s review in this week’s New Yorker of the new Harry Potter and, weirdly, Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop:

Place Iannucci’s work beside the new Harry Potter film, and you get a perplexing report on the corroded state of the British imagination. The choice appears to be between a soaring escape into fantasy, where the actions of a teen-ager can be loaded with universal portent, and a descent into the rat-run of moral contamination, where the policies of a government are pushed through on a ruse. So much denial and self-hatred, for a small country, and behind them both the aggrieved memory of lost influence: what hope is there for the return of the steady, tolerant gaze?

Ouch. I mean, if we read recent American films as indices of national psycho-aesthetic pathologies, I’m sure we could come up an equally dismal either/or. Further, I’m not sure I agree with Lane’s choices for the two possibilities. The second one seems right, but I’d replace the “soaring escape into fantasy” bit with “nostalgic self-sifting and record collecting, where the remembered teenaged self and its tastes and traumas are forever loaded with universal portent…”

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July 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Posted in britain, movies