Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.
Graham Forbes is a disappointment to his mother, who thinks that if he must have a wife, he should have done better. Though her own husband isn’t all that satisfactory either. Still, this is Alan Bennett, so what is happening in the bedroom (and in lots of other places too) is altogether more startling, perhaps shocking, and ultimately more true to people’s predilections.
The Greening of Mrs Donaldson
Mrs Donaldson is a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been much like many others: happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull. But when she decides to take in two lodgers, her mundane life becomes much more stimulating…
“Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise.
A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland…
Jhumpa Lahiri’s prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and reverberation.”
Disturbing, dark, low-budget independent film about teenagers in New York City. The story focuses on Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick), a teen who has a goal to de-flower as many virgins as he can. When one of his old encounters discovers that she is HIV-positive, after only one encounter with a guy, Telly remains undaunted.
Producers: Christine Vachon, Gus Van Sant, Cary Woods, Cathy Konrad
Director: Larry Clark
Writer: Gary Lennon
A dreamer who aspires to human flight is assigned public service after one of his attempts off a public building. This leads him to meeting a young woman, who is dying of motor neurone disease. The strong-willed woman admits her wish to be de-flowered before her death. The man, struggling to maintain his relationship with his girl friend, declines but offers to help pay for a gigolo to do the deed. The following events play off the inherent comedy and drama of the circumstances.
Producers: Ruth Caleb, Anant Singh, Helena Spring
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Richard Hawkins
A look at the life of Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the area of human sexuality research, whose 1948 publication “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” was one of the first recorded works that saw science address sexual behavior.
Producers: Gail Mutrux
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Bill Condon
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Producers: Agustín Almodóvar, Pedro Almodóvar
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
The original televison series was broadcast on the BBC in 1986, the six episodes merge ‘storylines’ from three settings a ‘pulp fiction’ thriller, childhood memory and the hospital ward in which the main character is being treated for his severe psoriasis. Many aspects of the work were drawn from experience, the writer Dennis Potter suffered from psoriasis.
This short clip gives a little sense of the rich observation, visual invention, humour and humanity of the best of Potter’s work…
Credits: Produced by Kenith Trodd and John Harris. Written by Dennis Potter. Directed by Jon Amiel. Original music by Stanley Myers.
Cast: (Includes) Michael Gambon,
Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley, Janet Suzman, Lyndon Davies.
Date: Originally issued 1986.
The hilarious novel of the healing arts that reveals everything your doctor never wanted you to know. Six eager interns — they saw themselves as modern saviors-to-be. They came from the top of their medical school class to the bottom of the hospital staff to serve a year in the time-honored tradition, racing to answer the flash of on-duty call lights and nubile nurses. But only the Fat Man –the Clam, all-knowing resident — could sustain them in their struggle to survive, to stay sane, to love-and even to be doctors when their harrowing year was done.
Steven Oliver HYMS: Law nine of the House of God (there are 13 in total) is ‘The only good admission is a dead admission’. To understand why you may one day entertain exactly this thought – despite your best ‘patient-centred’ intentions – I would recommend this book. It’s not great literature, my copy has the word ‘bawdy’ on the cover blurb, so brace yourself for some very ‘phallocentric’ sex (however ‘my copy’ is in fact my wife’s copy – so it’s not solely for ‘lads’). I’m not sure I now find it a particularly funny book – its humour is very black – it is the writer’s anger about systems that can choke the caring out of medicine, and the impact this has on young doctors that makes this a ‘must read’ for me.
Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever.
Producer: Bertil Ohlsson, Paul Zaentz, Saul Zaentz
Director: Philip Kaufman
Writers: Jean-Claude Carrière, Philip Kaufman