The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—Belfast & Summer of ’85

Aug 29, 2022

Film: Belfast Directed by Kenneth Branagh, 2021, streaming on HBO and other sites.

This film depicts, through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy, a violent, tumultuous time in Northern Ireland during The Troubles in the summer of 1969. You see a modest, solid working class community where neighbors raised their kids together for decades but which, in this time, is being destroyed by the strife between the Protestants and the Catholics. The film doesn’t analyze the cause; instead, you see the senseless and cruel nature of the violence tearing this neighborhood apart.

This film has strong performances by 9-year-old Jude Hill, and by Catriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan, playing his parents. His grandparents, acted by Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, have a vibrant touching wisdom and beautiful chemistry.

Book: Summer of ’85. Narrated by Keven Hart, from writer Chris Morrow, 2022, available on Audible.

This Audible Original depicts and juxtaposes two 1985 Philadelphia events: The MOVE house bombing in which 11 people, including 5 children, were killed and 61 homes burned down, and two months later, the huge Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia to raise money for the victims of the Ethiopian famine. MOVE members were militants who lived in a communal setting in the city, and who all took the last name of Africa. Their militancy drew the ire of the police, and the callous aerial bombing of their house by the police shook the world. Did the concert two months later seek to hide and cover up those events?

Summer of ’85 is stunningly narrated by Kevin Hart and includes many soundbites from the actual events. The audiobook gives the backstory of each event, examines the motives and consequences, and challenges us to thoroughly know this not-so-distant history that could happen again even today.