(Alan Clarke, UK, 1981) 75 minutes


Director: Alan Clarke
Producer: Keith Williams
Screenplay: David Leland, Charles Levinson
Photography: Elmer Cossey, Barry McCann
Editor: Tariq Anwar
Graham Growden
Tony Doyle
Oskar Quitak
Sten Berkoff
George Pravda
Richard Bebb

Reviews and notes

A cool hard study of 'the art of the deal' on a global scale. Sir Peter (Graham Crowden), the chillingly affable chief exec of big British multi-national UKM, learns that the Soviet Union's chief scientists are in London with government credit to spend. He's keen to flog them a tyre-production plant. based in the Ukraine, which will unshackle UKM from bothersome unions at home. But at the negotiating table, it fast becomes apparent that the Soviets are more interested in the laser technology UKM employs to vulcanise their tyres; and Peter starts to foresee a new future in military aerospace for his ever fiexible firm.

As David Leland recalls. 'The technological scenario behind those lasers was (Reagan's) Star Wars, which most people didn't know then. Clive James wrote a damming review in The Observer saying it was Dan Dare stuff: "Laser beams coming out of space? These guys haven't done their research." He clearly wasn't reading the trade journals of the armaments industry at the time.' Leland happily acknowledges that the 'real' voice behind BELOVED ENEMY was Charles Levinson, international trade unionist and author of Vodka Cola, a critique of US-Soviet commercial collusion during the phoney Cold War. The magnificent Crowden is ably supported by Doyle, as UKM's proto-Thatcherite negotiator Blake, Quitak as their tame Tory MP Teddy Whitaker, and Berkoff as the suave Russian go-between Koslov. Clarke keeps the tone remote and disconcerting, making inspired use of a long lens (the 'long bottle') to convey a surveillance-like sense of dirty deals done at a distance.
-Richard Kelly, Edinburgh Film Festival, 1998.

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