Colin Gardner
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Dystopic malevolence and the politics of collusion
Evan Jones’s The Damned (1961), Eve (1962), King and Country (1964) and Modesty Blaise (1966)
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There was an experimental, writer-oriented focus in Joseph Losey's later work, opening the way for collaborations on a more equal footing. This found Losey increasingly willing to push conventional narrative beyond the exigencies of the realist action-image to a more radically modernist appreciation of ambivalence and discontinuity. Perhaps the most underrated of these 'writerly' collaborations are the four films that Losey made with the West Indian screenwriter Evan Jones in the early 1960s: The Damned, Eve, King and Country, and Modesty Blaise. What specifically unites these films is not simply Jones's reiteration of Losey's habitual concerns with impulse and dislocated time, but his exploration of the cynical collusion between naturalism's two outward symptoms. These are: masochism and the institutional dystopia that exploits and exacerbates it. The Damned is a vastly over-determined tragedy, pushing the dystopic malevolence of the state-machine to its ultimate extreme.

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