12 Years a Slave

This isn’t a review, or a précis, but just a note that the dilemmas posed to the main character in the film, and to others, primarily between survival and principle, but also the degree to which one goes along with “the system” are applicable to thinking about the plight of ordinary people in Germany during the Third Reich, also to Jews in the Nazi controlled ghettos, and indeed to anyone in a situation of dictatorship, whether in the workplace or the state.  In the UK, we do at least still have the luxury, on the whole, of being able to protest against injustice and evil, even if the political class ignore us (e.g., the 1.5 million march against war in Iraq – the anger won’t go away, Blair).  So as far as we can, we shouldn’t be silent – but the film does understand why, in extremis, one has to bend the knee.


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