Friday, 17 February 2012

Gorky Park

It seems appropriate to include in this piece a review of Gorky Park, a film viewed in the theatre and previously on TV. Again it is a film set as Russian commenced to move between its past and its future with a few Westerners permitted into the country but at a time when movement for Russians was prevented except on official visits. While the politics of the country, its human rights record and relations with the West are the present in the film the story is that of the murder of three young women in Gorky Park, but no ordinary murder as the killer or killers had taken great steps to prevent identification by destroying face and hands, and clinically.

The other aspect of the film is the trade in the Sable which was regarded and in some countries is still regarded as the most luxury of fur coats. The creature lived in the cold wild forests of Russian, China and Japan but in more recent times is farmed. The premise of the film is that the hunting of the wild Russian Sable tipped with silver was strictly controlled with an ban on exporting pairs if live animals in order to maintain the price. Jack Osborne is an American with a licence to hunt the wild Sable and export the skins with appropriate premiums paid to the authorities.

He cuts a deal with corrupt officials to export three pairs to the wilds of Sweden where he has a farm. This involves the secret building of a trunk by the three young women on the promise of being smuggled out Russia. Assigned to investigate the case is Arkady Renko a man who describes himself as solid and methodical, a modern but loyal Russian with no illusions about the nature of his society and who meets with an American detective, whose brother has disappeared and has been given permission to enter the country to investigate what happened with the help of the authorities. Renko (American actor William Hurt and not to be confused with John Hurt, the British special Bafta award winner) becomes concerned when the KGB show no interest in the deaths of the young women and his suspicion rises when at the weekend Dacha of the Chief Prosecutor Lanskoy (Ian Bannen) he meets Osborn (Lee Marvin) and his girl friend Irina Asanova. With the help of an assistant (a much thinner Richard Griffiths) and a university Professor the face of one of the girls is reconstructed to help identification and that of a second head which remains to be completed.

Renko works out that someone skilful in skinning the Sables to prevent damage to their fur is the ideal candidate for the murder of the young woman and he keeps an eye Osborne and his girl friend as does the American and the KGB, Eventually Renko and the American prevent a KGB officer from completing the injection of a lethal substance into Irina and Renko takes the young woman to his flat to recuperate. He tries to persuade her to be open about Osborne and the killing of the three young women but she still has hopes of also being taken to the West which she believes the other girls have been able to do so with his help, Renko and the girl become lovers and in order to shake her out of her illusions he confronts here with the head of one of the girls. She admits the plot but then runs away.

When Renko and the American go to check out the second head they see a KGB officer leaving the building with it in a box and they follow to where he hands it over to the Chief Prosecutor and Osborne. The head is that of the brother of the American Detective. Later in a Russian baths Renko confronts the Prosecutor and in a fight kills him.

In order to create dramatic tension the rest of the story is left to unfold with first Renko and two associates going to Sweden where Osborne lives, and who had advise he is leaving Russia for good as a wealthy home on the city and an isolated fur farm close to a forest. Renko has come to retrieve the Sables and kill Osborne but is told by a senior official they have come to cut a deal. When he meets Osborne and is taken back to his luxury home he is shocked to Irina him having managed to get out of the country. He and his colleagues arrange to meet Osborne at his farm where first he finds the American gutted and tied to a tree because he had killed one Osborne’s dogs, Osborne appears with the six pelts of the Sable but a cautious Renko is convinced that one of his colleagues is also a traitor and in the subsequent fight Renko, Osborne and Irina are the only ones to survive. It is Irina, who kills Osborne emptying the magazine into the body,

Renko has discovered that Osborne had previously exported another set of Sable which he lefts out into the wild. The girl wants Renko to leave Russia and join her in the west. He explains that back home he had agreed that his permission was to retrieve the Sable and Kill Osborn and then return with the freedom of the girl being his price for taking the risks. In any event he says he is a Russian and would not be content in the West. The girl offers to return to Russia with him but he admits she needs the freedom. He offers a prophetic thought, given when the book was written and the film released (1983) that hopefully things will change and they will be able to be together.

Despite all the effective efforts against the use of animal fur for coats, a Russian Sable three quarter length coast is on Bay at present for £63000 sold by a Chinese firm. I recall a dinner held by the Association of Directors of Social Services North East branch where all the wives accept my partner wore fur coats (I need to write up aspects of that event in the context of allegations made by someone investigating the abuse of children in public care.

Amy Winehouse Back to Back
You know Im no Good
Me and Mr Jones
Back to Black
Love is a losing game
Tears Dry on their Own
Wake up alone
Some unholy War
He can only hold her

Franz Ferdinand
tell her tonight
take me Out
the dark of the Matinee
auf achse
cheating on you
this fire
darts of pleasure
come on home

The Essential Bob Dylan
Blowing in the Wind
Don’t think Twice Its Alright
The Times they are a changing
It aint me Babe
Maggies Farm
It’s all over now Baby Blue
Mr Tambourine Blue
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Like a Rolling Stone
Positively 4th Street
Can you please crawl out your window?
I want you
Just like a woman
Rainy Day woman
All along the watchtower
Quinn the Eskimo
Ill be your baby tonight
Lay Lady Lay
If not for you
I shall be released
You aint going nowhere
Knocking on Heaven’s door
Forever Young
Tangled up in Blue
Shelter from the Storm
Changing of the Guards
Gotta serve somebody
Blind Willy McTell
Tight connections to my heart
Everything is Broken
Not Drunk Yet
Things have changed

Marc Bolan T Rex
20th Century Boy
Get it On
Metal Guru
Ride a White Swan
Hot Love
Telegram Sam
I Live to Boogie
Children of the revolution
Sold Gold Easy Action
New York City
The Groover
Truck on Tyke
One Inch Rock
Light of Love
Dreamy Baby
London Boys
Celebrate Summer
Teenage Dream
The Wizard
Pewter Suitor
King of the Running Spires
By the Light of the Magical Moon
It is Love?
King of the Mountain Cometh
Cosmic Dancer
Raw Ramp
Life’s a Gas
Sailors of the Highway
Thunder Wing
Born to Boogie

Christmas Bop

Laser Love
Life’s am Elevator
Soul of my suit
Dandy in the Underworld

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