Sunday, 25 April 2010

It happened here

Awhile ago I picked up a few alternative history DVD's, I finally got round to watching the second one It happened here as you may have guessed from the title the film has a very similar premise to Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen here about the rise of a Fascistic dictatorship in America. This is very similar except that its set in Britain and isn't really a warning about letting radical right wingers getting a free ride as instead of a National Front alike movement taking power ala V for Vendetta its a tale about Britain under occupation from the actual Nazi's.

The main character (no one is even close to a hero in this film)is a nurse which means she has to join a Fascist front organisation for the emergency services by the name of Instant Action (even the characters think it sounds like a haemorrhoid cream) before she can be authorised to work at another hospital.

Its very much an indie film. The acting is pretty bad at times particularly the scene at the recruitment office for Instant Action where the local officer is giving out his party spiel about how the British innate sense of organisation will get the country back on its feet and beat the "bolshies", but to me anyway the bad acting works at making the whole thing seem more real. Since I can see and have seen petty bureaucrats recite rote learned motto or semi speech to fob off any complaints or questions.

Most of the film is about life under this regime from the perspective of someone whose only going along with it so she can get by or to put it one way "only in it for the free coffee".

One particular scene that stands out for me is notably for how mundane it is. As part of the Ideological training all Instant Action branches have to hold informal meetings on racial theory. Why this scene stands out for me is because despite the subject of the debate (that on the deportation of Jews to Madagascar)its a pretty realistic depiction of a group meet. Seriously anyone whose had the pleasure of attending a party meeting or a council debate or company team building exercise will find this scene pretty familiar. Theres the few who have to attend but just sit their nodding their heads, The two know it alls who hog the discussion and even interrupt each other and get quite fed up with each other etc.

There isn't really much in the way of action or suspense in this film (probably because that would be expensive) but I would recommend giving it a watch both as a piece of British cinematic history, and for the rather bizarre novelty that a Fascist Britain would be. (hint it turns out it would be quite naff).

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