Saturday, 9 February 2013

A Polite Revolution - A new film about Barnet by Oonagh Cousins

Film is a very powerful medium. Last night I went to see the new film "Hitchcock" starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. The film is largely about the making of Hitchcocks masterpiece "Psycho". Paramount pictures didn't like the idea of the film. The idea of a cross dressing, transvestite, incestuous necrophiliac was a bit too strong for them. Hitchcock was knocked back, but decided to make the film anyway and self finance it. As a result he made a better film, free of studio control and made a stack more money. It seems that under Barnets Conservative regime, our neighbourhood has become a hotbed of budding Alfred Hitchcocks all making our own films. Last year, I made two with US director Charles Honderick (A Tale of Two Barnets and Barnet - The Billion Pound Gamble). Azi Khatri also made a fine animation about the One Barnet program. Ex Tory Councillor Daniel Hope, who runs a blog called the Barnet Bugle has made it his lifes mission to video and document the hopeless (no pun intended) flounderings of his erstwhile ex colleagues.

Whilst none of us are likely to repeat Hitchcocks commercial success any time soon, I suspect that this is the last thing which motivates us (although a couple of million quid would be very nice, thank you very much). What drives is is the desire to tell a story of injustice and the heroic and inspiring reaction of the local people in this sleepy suburban backwater. Barnet has become synonamous with effective and imaginative protests, which are becoming ever more successful. Since September 2012 Barnet has also been home to activists from the occupy movement, who have injected energy and vigour into our campaigns and an urgency for justice and change which has energised even the most clapped out local campaigners.

I've been involved in video making in one way or another since 1979. Until I discovered the joys of blogging, this was mostly music videos. Seeking new ways to get the message of what is going across lead me to start making videos about the local situation. I believed that if we started videoing and documenting what is happening, then it would be harder for our local politicians to get away with inflicting injustice on us.

It is satisfying to find out that I am not alone. Recently I was contacted by a Oonagh Cousins, a filmmaker who was making a documentary about the Friern Barnet Peoples Library and the occupation. Oonagh wanted to interview me as part of the documentary she was making and of course I was delighted to participate. The film has now been finished. Oonagh has done a fantastic job, even securing an interview with Noam Chomsky. Whilst the Friern Barnet story is an interesting and inspiring tale, Oonagh has brought it to life and given a great flavour of what sort of community Barnet really is. Here is her film. I highly recommend it !

A Polite Revolution from Oonagh Cousins on Vimeo.

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