The Forgotten Faces

Peter Watkins is the film director whose work you likely haven’t seen, but definitely should.

He is best known for his work in the 1960s and 1970s, including Culloden, The War Game, and Punishment Park. The common method for these films was to take a “you are there”, documentary approach and treat the camera as if it were an actual witness to the events as they unfolded. So while it may be a bit jarring to see and hear a TV film crew interviewing and reacting to Scottish rebels in 1745, you see his point in doing so pretty easily.

It was certainly a method commonly used in comedy, but Watkins uses it to great dramatic effect, particularly notably in The War Game, a 1965 film that documents the aftereffects of a nuclear detonation over an area of Kent. It was such a horrific film that the BBC, who produced it, refused to broadcast it on TV and the film was not shown publicly in the UK until 1985. Watkins did not take kindly to this suppression of his work and left the UK. He has since lived and made films in Sweden, the United States, Denmark, Canada, Lithuania and France. His most recent film was La Commune in 2000, on the Paris Commune. (It’s probably his last film too, as he no longer gives interviews and has largely withdrawn from public life.)

http://pwatkins.mnsi.net/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Watkins

Another trademark of Watkins’ work is to use people who are entirely untrained in acting, or are at most amateur theatre performers. He began this practice with his early amateur films but kept on with it throughout his career.

It’s one of these early amateur films I want to draw your attention to today. It’s The Forgotten Faces, an 18 minute film made in 1960 with amateur performers in a back street in Canterbury. It’s an impressionistic view of the Hungarian Revolution in October 1956.

In all the work and thought I’d invested in Nights of Fire, this film was always in the back of my mind but I never mentioned it until now.

I hope you find it interesting.

Nights of Fire is still on track for a March release.

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Card #24

card #24

24. US-Taliban Talks TCWG
Selective fire: Until Propaganda, Taliban Operations may not remove Coalition pieces (mark).
MOMENTUM
No sudden moves: Until Propaganda, no Coalition Assault (mark).
MOMENTUM
Direct, official contact between representatives of the United States and the Taliban began in late 2010. Earnest and productive negotiations held out the possibility of  reducing the pace of operations in Afghanistan. Meetings took place in Germany and Qatar, but progress was slow.
(US DoD Report on Progress, p. 82)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/world/asia/taliban-peace-deal-afghanistan.html

ADP in Genesee

adp@genessee

Students in the thick of it. (photo: Brian Mayer)

Today I got notice via GMT of a two-day, 20-student play session of A Distant Plain organized by Brian Mayer, a Gaming and Library Technology Specialist with the School Library System of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. (I’m not exactly sure what this partnership is; they seem to be providers of special education, adult education and support/technical services to a large number of school districts in New York State.)

Great to see these students so engaged, and learning about a war that hopefully will not be waiting for them after graduation.

GMT very kindly provided the games at an educator’s discount. Class act, GMT!

“Maduro?” “Guaido!”

caudillo-cover-2

A curious development.

Opposition Leader Juan Guaido took an oath swearing himself in as Venezuela’s interim president on Wednesday, as hundreds of thousands marched to demand the end of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro’s government.

Guaido, head of the Opposition-run Congress, had said he would be willing to assume the presidency on an interim basis with the support of the armed forces to call elections.

Within minutes, Global Affairs confirmed Canada will recognize Guaido in the role. U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement doing the same, and encouraging other Western governments to recognize Guaido as interim president.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/venezuela-president-protest-guaido-maduro-1.4989733

Emphasis added, by me of course. Sinister promptitude and all that. The Latin American countries with right-wing governments (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru) also recognized Guaido.

We don’t know yet which way the Venezuelan military will jump… and of course there is a difference between the professional military, and the paramilitary forces that were set up under Chavez and have not been disarmed. Again, they may be pushing up against a civil war, or continued disorder at the very least.

Caudillo now available for free PnP

 

The myth of the apolitical game

https://www.grimme-game.de/2019/01/17/der-mythos-vom-unpolitischen-spiel/

This very good piece is written concerning video games, and the coyness of their publishers and marketing people in “not taking a side” when they very clearly have done, but it goes for manual games as well.

The “translate this page” will work well on this one, but here is the money quote for me, at the conclusion:

Alles ist politisch

Es scheint absurd, dass es dezidiert ausgesprochen werden muss: Kein Werk entsteht unabhängig von seinem Schöpfer, dessen Ansichten, Meinungen und politischer Überzeugung – auch und besonders dann nicht, wenn es behauptet, “die Realität” zeigen zu wollen. Der Wunsch, sich Spiele als unpolitisches, reines Unterhaltungsprodukt zu “erhalten” – mit dem Schlachtruf “keep politics out of our games” -, ist deshalb nicht nur illusorisch, sondern auch problematisch, weil er die vorhandene, unweigerliche Politikhaltigkeit jedes Mediums negiert und deren damit verbunden Botschaften somit unbewusst, und damit noch wirksamer, ihr Werk tun lässt.

Die Kritik, die der Industrie heute angesichts als absurd erkannter Rechtfertigungsmanöver zunehmend entgegengebracht wird, lässt hoffen, dass Spiele irgendwann auch hier zum Kulturgut wie jedes andere werden. Es gibt kein Buch, keinen Film, kein Album und kein Spiel, das frei von Politik wäre – wie bei jedem Kulturprodukt ist die ganze reale Welt ihrer Schöpfer der Stoff, aus dem sie entstehen.

Alles ist politisch; diese Tatsache in vollem Bewusstsein anzuerkennen, ist ein notwendiger Schritt für Macher wie Konsumenten auch des Mediums Videospiel.

Autor: Rainer Sigl

or:

Everything is political

It seems absurd that it has to be decidedly stated: No work is created independently of its creator, his views, opinions and political convictions – even and especially not when he claims to want to show “the reality”. The desire to “get” games as a non-political, pure entertainment product – with the slogan “Keep politics out of our games” – is therefore not only illusory, but also problematic because it negates the existing, inevitable political content of each medium and their Associated messages thus unconsciously, and thus more effectively, lets do their work.

The criticism, which is increasingly given to industry today in the face of absurdly recognized justification maneuvers, gives hope that games will someday become as much a cultural asset as any other. There is no book, no film, no album and no game that is free of politics – as with any cultural product, the whole real world of its creators is the stuff of which they emerge.

Everything is political; Recognizing this fact in full awareness is a necessary step for doers as well as consumers of the medium of video games.

I have said as much, many times.

Hollandspiele + Second Chance Games = $ales$ !!

Even since Hollandspiele got started, they have had a rising tide of interest from customers in the UK and Europe – interest that was promptly deflated by their  production costs (print-on-demand) and postage (which could sometimes be higher than the cost of the item) and probability of exorbitant customs and duties once the item reached foreign shores.

The print-and-play version solution was always there, and it’s the same price to everyone on the planet. But there are lots of people out there who value their time more highly, and their crafting skills less generously.

So today Hollandspiele announced its partnership with Second Chance Games in the UK, as their retailer Across the Water.

https://www.secondchancegames.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/manufacturer/hollandspiele/

Prices range, and I am not sure how much shipping would be, though certainly it would be more reasonable than sending from California. But as an illustration, Scheldt Campaign and Ukrainian Crisis/Little War are 49 pounds each.

The Putsch and the Bomb

bof-a

Over at the Rockymountainnavy blog, the writer (I’ve been reading his blog for a long while but still don’t know his name) posts that he has acquired a copy of Colonial Twilight, and is looking forward to playing it! I’m glad to hear that, he has enjoyed other designs of mine he has played in the past.

In his post he also draws attention to a research paper he found detailing an incident that took place during the April 1961 putsch against de Gaulle: a nuclear device prepared for testing at the Reggane site (wayyy off to the south of the game map) was detonated during the events of the coup. The author explores the various interpretations of why and how the test took place, and whether there was any question of the rebellious generals being able to seize the device and use it (symbolically or in reality) against the government. The answer in this case is either “no” or “maybe, but so what”, but it does provide an interesting base for other questions about the role of nuclear weapons in contentious situations between a nation’s military and civilian powers.

https://rockymountainnavy.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/wargame-for-train-coups-nukes-colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62-gmtgames-2017/

Of course, nothing like this is reflected in the game, except for the Coup d’etat card (#66) and a reference to the nuclear Force de Frappe in the NATO card (#16) – which was another piece in the complicated game de Gaulle was playing to impress his vision of France on its armed forces.

dc_maracas medium

RMN also mentions the upcoming release of District Commander Maracas by Hollandspiele – they have announced that it and the Binh Dinh module will be released in 2019, followed by the Algeria and Afghanistan modules in 2020.