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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The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism

Forcing tech firms to create a "backdoor" to access messages would be a gift to cyber-hackers.

The UK has endured its worst terrorist atrocity since 7 July 2005 and the threat level has been raised to "critical" for the first time in a decade. Though election campaigning has been suspended, the debate over potential new powers has already begun.

Today's Sun reports that the Conservatives will seek to force technology companies to hand over encrypted messages to the police and security services. The new Technical Capability Notices were proposed by Amber Rudd following the Westminster terrorist attack and a month-long consultation closed last week. A Tory minister told the Sun: "We will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now. The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

Put that way, the plan sounds reasonable (orders would be approved by the home secretary and a senior judge). But there are irrefutable problems. Encryption means tech firms such as WhatsApp and Apple can't simply "hand over" suspect messages - they can't access them at all. The technology is designed precisely so that conversations are genuinely private (unless a suspect's device is obtained or hacked into). Were companies to create an encryption "backdoor", as the government proposes, they would also create new opportunities for criminals and cyberhackers (as in the case of the recent NHS attack).

Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security, told the New Statesman's Will Dunn earlier this year: "Nobody in this organisation or our parent organisation will ever ask for a 'back door' in a large-scale encryption system, because it's dumb."

But there is a more profound problem: once created, a technology cannot be uninvented. Should large tech firms end encryption, terrorists will merely turn to other, lesser-known platforms. The only means of barring UK citizens from using the service would be a Chinese-style "great firewall", cutting Britain off from the rest of the internet. In 2015, before entering the cabinet, Brexit Secretary David Davis warned of ending encryption: "Such a move would have had devastating consequences for all financial transactions and online commerce, not to mention the security of all personal data. Its consequences for the City do not bear thinking about."

Labour's manifesto pledged to "provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe." But added: "We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties". The Liberal Democrats have vowed to "oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption."

But with a large Conservative majority inevitable, according to polls, ministers will be confident of winning parliamentary support for the plan. Only a rebellion led by Davis-esque liberals is likely to stop them.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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