The taboo on the far right in government has been comprehensively broken: Mainstream parties appear happy to cooperate with those once considered “toxic.” Nativist representatives have been invited into ruling coalitions in Denmark, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands to act as support partners for traditional conservatives unable to win parliamentary majorities. No longer derided or dismissed by their mainstream rivals, far-right parties now show themselves capable of winning nationwide elections. Last year France’s National Rally, Italy’s League and Britain’s Brexit Party won the most votes in their countries’ elections to the European Parliament.
Hugo Blick, is an English writer, producer, director and occasional actor. I’m familiar with his writing and directing of two TV series in which two different genocides figure prominently.
‘The Honourable Woman’
The principal character in The Honourable Woman is Nessa Stein an Anglo-Jewish businesswoman ably portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Stein’s mother died in childbirth. Her father was murdered in front of her eyes at a tender age by the PLO. She also lost most of her family in the Holocaust. The scars of these traumas show up in a series filled with intrigue.
I had to watch this eight-part series more than once to get all the details. I enjoyed every minute. And the sets and the atmosphere are wonderful. Although Gyllenhaal is an American, she manages a very convincing British accent.
Black Earth Rising tackles the Rwandan genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutu in Rwanda, which took place between April 7 and July 15, 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War. On the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said that the “failure to act to prevent [this] genocide extracted an enormous human toll, tearing apart families and entire communities.”
In Black Earth Rising, Michaela Coel portrays Kate Ashby, a Rwandan who, as a little girl, was rescued from the 1994 genocide by human rights lawyer Eve Ashby who adopted her and raised her in London. Blick again focuses on an orphan subjected to trauma.
NPR said that despite the flaws of this eight-part series “Coel plays Kate with such incandescent intensity that she keeps us riveted anyway. In fact, the whole series is superbly acted.”
The New York Times was less charitable calling the series an “illustrated lecture.” But I think Blick has accomplished far more than that with a challenging and important topic.
The series is available on Netflix in the United States.