History Lesson(s) #7

Robinson in Ruins - Patrick Keiller, 2010, 35mm


Towards the end of the film, not long after the near collapse of the banking system in October 2008, the camera arrives at the location of the 1596 Oxfordshire rising, which was to have been an armed insurrection against enclosing landlords. Although the rebels failed in their attempt to ‘knock down’ Oxfordshire gentlemen and march on London, their rising was not a failure: to avoid further threats to the fragile social order of the period, the government soon legislated against enclosure. In retelling this story in the context of the current 'revolution of the rich against the poor' the rise of the super-rich in the UK in recent decades has been compared with that of the gentry in the late 16th and early 17th centuries the film appears to endorse violent insurrection, especially against Oxfordshire gentlemen.

--Patrick Keiller, interviewed by Daniele Rugo, 15/06/2011.

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