5 November 2006 | f_dodds
A film that helps us understand what was lost in 1968
"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." June 6th, 1968 (From the last speech Bobby gave) At a time when through out the world we seem to have lost our way and our belief in our political leaders is perhaps at its lowest ebb
. we see a reminder of what we had lost.
The sixties saw the assassination of John, Martin Malcolm and Bobby. As one of the actors says in the film "Bobby
our last chance". We can only imagine what a different world we might have had had they lived.
When it premiered at the Venice Film Festival (http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/ ) it received a seven minute standing ovation. The film's tagline is He saw wrong and tried to right it. He saw suffering and tried to heal it. He saw war and tried to stop it.
There are some icons of that time and one is the election poster of Robert F Kennedy from 1968 (http://www.rfkmemorial.org/ ).
Bobby is written and directed surprisingly by Emilio Estevez and features an amazing cast of stars. It is a fictional account of the lives of several people affected by and during the final hours of Senator Robert F Kennedy's life on the 6th of June 1968 as he attempted to become the Democratic candidate for President of the US. The film includes Anthony Hopkins playing the former doorman at the hotel where Kennedy was killed; other stars include Elijah Wood, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Christian Slater, Heleb Hunt, Harry Belafonte and my favourite TV President, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen).
"Our gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worth while. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." 1967 RFK For a generation it was Bobby who represented dashed hopes and dreams of a better world we might have had, which was cruelly taken away. At the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4th 1968, he left the ballroom after having won the all important California and South Dakota Primaries. He went through a service area to greet supporters working in the hotel's kitchen. While moving through a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan B Sirhan a 24-year-old Palestinian, fired a .22 calibre revolver directly into the crowd surrounding Kennedy. Kennedy, who was shot in the head at close range and also six other people were wounded. Although wounded he remained conscious for about 20 minutes where his concern was about others he was heard to say "Is everybody all right?" He was taken to Central Receiving Hospital and then Good Samaritan Hospital for emergency brain surgery. I was at school at the time in Melbourne in Derbyshire and the school put a room aside for any children to watch the news throughout the day to see if he survived lessons were put aside. He died there at the age of 42 in the early morning hours.
With his death the darkness seemed to descend having lost Martin Luther King already that year.
"A revolution is coming--a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough--But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability." 1966 RFK He had just completed three and half years as one of the Senators for New York. He had helped to start a successful redevelopment project in poverty stricken Bedford Stuyvsant in New York City bringing business back into areas of New York they had left years before.
He had an ability to speak to people across divides in US society of the time which were strong. He managed to pull together a coalition of poor -- black and whites, middle class he spoke forcefully in favour of what he called the "disaffected," the impoverished, and "the excluded,".
The film gives a wondrful feeling as if you are really still living that hope.
"Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest " RFK It is my hope that this film will help to inspire a new generation for public service.