HIC is a not-for-profit community film club organised and run by Haringey residents. It’s usually held on the last Thursday of the month at West Green Learning Centre on West Green Road. Doors open at 7pm. Everyone welcome!
As with several British films made in the realist period of the 1960s (including the classics Look Back in Anger and A Taste of Honey), King & Country was adapted from a stage play, Hamp. Director Losey utilises the trial of Tom Courtenay’s Private Hamp to show the unbelievable horrors of conflict as experienced in the medieval, rat-infested trenches of the First World War. The juxtaposition of soldier and officer in this setting strips bare the glaring class divisions and injustices demanded by imperialism.
Hamp, a poor working class lad from Islington, volunteers for the ‘Great War’ in blissful ignorance of what he is letting himself in for. Traumatised by his experiences, he is arrested whilst attempting to walk home and charged with desertion. Hargreaves, the defending officer played by Dirk Bogarde, is Hamp’s antithesis – articulate, educated, urbane and self-assured. His initial disdain for Hamp’s ‘cowardice’ is rapidly transformed into something approaching sympathy when confronted by the realisation of the shabby inadequacies of notions like duty.
However shocking the film, it is difficult to believe that humanity could, once again, slide into a similar, barbaric abyss. Think again. The battleground has changed, with millions finding themselves in that abyss, courtesy of the continuing shocks of Bush/Blair’s perpetual ‘War on Terror’.