The greatest political movies - the longlist

Do you agree with our staff picks?

Next issue's Critics will be a film special, so in honour of this we have conducted a completely un-scientific poll of NS staff to find the greatest political movies. "Political" was taken in its broadest sense - the only stipulation being no documentaries. You'll have to wait until Thursday's magazine to find out the top ten, but for now here's the longlist.

Tell us in the comments thread below: which films have we missed out? And what would make your top ten?

 

All the President's Men dir: Alan J. Pakula (1976)

Battleship Potemkin dir: Sergei Eisenstein (1926)

Casablanca dir: Michael Curtiz (1942)

Chinatown dir: Roman Polanski (1974)

Do the Right Thing dir: Spike Lee (1989)

Downfall dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel (2005)

Dr Strangelove dir: Stanley Kubrick (1964)

Godzilla dir: Ishirō Honda (1954)

Gomorra dir: Matteo Garrone (2008)

Goodbye, Lenin dir: Wolfgang Becker (2003)

Hunger dir: Steve McQueen (2008)

In the Loop dir: Armando Iannucci (2009)

Independence Day dir: Roland Emmerich (1996)

Kadosh dir: Amos Gitai (1999)

La Chinoise dir: Jean-Luc Godard (1967)

La Haine dir: Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)

La Planete Sauvage dir: René Laloux (1973)

Land and Freedom dir: Ken Loach (1995)

Lone Star dir: John Sayles (1996)

Meantime dir: Mike Leigh (1984)

Milk dir: Gus Van Sant (2008)

Mr Smith Goes to Washington dir: Frank Capra (1939)

My Beautiful Laundrette dir: Stephen Frears (1985)

Nashville dir: Robert Altman (1975)

Persepolis dir: directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (2007)

Platoon dir: Oliver Stone (1986)

Pratidwandi (The Adversary) dir: Satyajit Ray (1971)

Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1975)

Strawberry and Chocolate dir: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (1968)

Team America: World Police dir: Trey Parker (2005)

The Battle of Algiers dir: Gillo Pontecorvo (1967)

The Candidate dir: Michael Ritchie (1972)

The Conformist dir: Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)

The Last of England dir: Derek Jarman (1988)

The Lives of Others dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2006)

The Trial dir: Orson Welles (1962)

W dir: Oliver Stone (2008)

Waltz With Bashir dir: Ari Folman (2008)

Xala dir: Ousmane Sembene (1975)

Z dir: Costa Gavros (1969)

 

 

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Brexit has opened up big rifts among the remaining EU countries

Other non-Euro countries will miss Britain's lobbying - and Germany and France won't be too keen to make up for our lost budget contributions.

Untangling 40 years of Britain at the core of the EU has been compared to putting scrambled eggs back into their shells. On the UK side, political, legal, economic, and, not least, administrative difficulties are piling up, ranging from the Great Repeal Bill to how to process lorries at customs. But what is less appreciated is that Brexit has opened some big rifts in the EU.

This is most visible in relations between euro and non-euro countries. The UK is the EU’s second biggest economy, and after its exit the combined GDP of the non-euro member states falls from 38% of the eurozone GDP to barely 16%, or 11% of EU’s total. Unsurprisingly then, non-euro countries in Eastern Europe are worried that future integration might focus exclusively on the "euro core", leaving others in a loose periphery. This is at the core of recent discussions about a multi-speed Europe.

Previously, Britain has been central to the balance between ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, often leading opposition to centralising eurozone impulses. Most recently, this was demonstrated by David Cameron’s renegotiation, in which he secured provisional guarantees for non-euro countries. British concerns were also among the reasons why the design of the European Banking Union was calibrated with the interests of the ‘outs’ in mind. Finally, the UK insisted that the euro crisis must not detract from the development of the Single Market through initiatives such as the capital markets union. With Britain gone, this relationship becomes increasingly lop-sided.

Another context in which Brexit opens a can of worms is discussions over the EU budget. For 2015, the UK’s net contribution to the EU budget, after its rebate and EU investments, accounted for about 10% of the total. Filling in this gap will require either higher contributions by other major states or cutting the benefits of recipient states. In the former scenario, this means increasing German and French contributions by roughly 2.8 and 2 billion euros respectively. In the latter, it means lower payments to net beneficiaries of EU cohesion funds - a country like Bulgaria, for example, might take a hit of up to 0.8% of GDP.

Beyond the financial impact, Brexit poses awkward questions about the strategy for EU spending in the future. The Union’s budgets are planned over seven-year timeframes, with the next cycle due to begin in 2020. This means discussions about how to compensate for the hole left by Britain will coincide with the initial discussions on the future budget framework that will start in 2018. Once again, this is particularly worrying for those receiving EU funds, which are now likely to either be cut or made conditional on what are likely to be more political requirements.

Brexit also upends the delicate institutional balance within EU structures. A lot of the most important EU decisions are taken by qualified majority voting, even if in practice unanimity is sought most of the time. Since November 2014, this has meant the support of 55% of member states representing at least 65% of the population is required to pass decisions in the Council of the EU. Britain’s exit will destroy the blocking minority of a northern liberal German-led coalition of states, and increase the potential for blocking minorities of southern Mediterranean countries. There is also the question of what to do with the 73 British MEP mandates, which currently form almost 10% of all European Parliament seats.

Finally, there is the ‘small’ matter of foreign and defence policy. Perhaps here there are more grounds for continuity given the history of ‘outsourcing’ key decisions to NATO, whose membership remains unchanged. Furthermore, Theresa May appears to have realised that turning defence cooperation into a bargaining chip to attract Eastern European countries would backfire. Yet, with Britain gone, the EU is currently abuzz with discussions about greater military cooperation, particularly in procurement and research, suggesting that Brexit can also offer opportunities for the EU.

So, whether it is the balance between euro ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, multi-speed Europe, the EU budget, voting blocs or foreign policy, Brexit is forcing EU leaders into a load of discussions that many of them would rather avoid. This helps explain why there is clear regret among countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, at seeing such a key partner leave. It also explains why the EU has turned inwards to deal with the consequences of Brexit and why, although they need to be managed, the actual negotiations with London rank fairly low on the list of priorities in Brussels. British politicians, negotiators, and the general public would do well to take note of this.

Ivaylo Iaydjiev is a former adviser to the Bulgarian government. He is currently a DPhil student at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford

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