Red Army not just about the Soviet military machine and its hockey team but an insightful documentary about what individual Soviet citizens felt about their country and its ideology. Sport, whether the USA or the Soviet Union, was always about the power struggle between two empires and in this film we see the personal cost for individuals through the stories of five young men who dedicated their lives to hockey and success for the Soviet team. Central to the story is Viacheslav “Slava” Fetisov, one of the stars of the hockey team, who refuses to defect to the West and when he does go to work there sees the vacuity of American life. The film reminds us of why Soviet citizens loved their country; the deaths of 20 million people during the Second World War, a strong sense of their history and culture and living in a much fairer if poorer materially society. It is a fascinating film; not just about one sport but the games that empires play with their citizens and their minds.
Liverpool Radical Film Festival. Not just screenings of films that do not even get in the art houses but an opportunity to discuss the future of radical film in the UK. There is also an interesting mix of films being shown from countries such as Croatia, Greece, Argentina and Armenia and films about the local Chinese community accompanied by the Chinese Youth Orchestra in Europe. The festival shows the importance of radical film in documenting the lives of people whose struggles are often ignored by the mainstream media. And amazingly its free! Further info see
See some new local drama. Michael Beswick’s ‘The Box’ at 3 Minute Theatre.
Produced by the Manchester Shakespeare Company and directed By Gina T. Frost. The play is about the Bennett family; three generations whose lives are thrown upside down by the arrival of a mysterious upside down box in their livingroom. They say; “This is a topical, thought provoking play that deals sensitively with the issue of discrimination from racial prejudice to bullying.” Further info see
The Rise of Islamic State ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution by Patrick Cockburn. If you marched in 2003 against the Iraq war this will confirm, if you had any doubts, that what was done in our name, has created the conditions for the rise of ISIS. Patrick is one of the few journalists that actually visits these countries and has contacts with many people living in the Middle East. He is also brave enough to tell the truth about the bankruptcy of western foreign policy; the way in which the USA preferred to blame Iraq for 9/11 rather than face the reality of the involvement of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in sponsoring al-Qaeda. And its new manifestation ISIS Patrick says; “The movement’s toxic but potent mix of extreme religious beliefs and military skill is the outcome of the war in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003 and the war in Syria since 2011.” Best book of the year. Buy it from