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Godard’s Le weekend

I’d last seen Le weekend as a wide-eyed, easily overawed undergraduate soon after the 1968 Paris student riots. Before seeing it last night I was afraid it might seem to have aged badly in the way some other films that excited me at the time have.

I needn’t have worried. I found it deeply absorbing. Obviously it has dated in some ways, but these are mostly superficial, relating to things like clothes, gadgets, car styles and social manner. It’s the fate of all films to date more in this way than books do because films register the minutiae of physical appearance … Continue Reading

Poetry by heart in primary school?

I agreed when Peter Hitchens said on Question Time last night that it was a wonderful thing to have beautiful poems and lines of poetry in one’s head. But it’s a big jump from feeling that to supporting the idea of forcing all primary school children to learn poetry by heart.

Hitchens followed his eloquent description of what knowing poems can give us with a surly expression of pity for those who don’t know any, because their hearts are deserts (I can’t remember his exact words but I don’t think I’m misrepresenting his essential meaning). However, comparing his restless anger with … Continue Reading