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Radicals in Film

Peter Watkins: A Revolutionary Film-Maker pt.2

In the second part of our study of the work of Peter Watkins, we look at how his career as an independent film-maker challenged conventional trends.

Frustrated by the poor reception to Privilege, Watkins left Britain for Sweden to make his next film. The Gladiators (1969) continued the theme of the elite using the media to divert aggression, but instead of music, as in Privilege, here violence is the catalyst. Soldiers representing different states are sent to arenas to fight and compete against each other in missions. These ‘Peace Games’ are televised to massive international audiences. From the comfort of a country mansion, the generals of each side sit together watching the battles and amiably take turns to influence what their soldiers do. One of the strongest messages in The Gladiators is that soldiers of any side have more in common with each other than they do with their leaders.

Why The Light of Truth Should Be Extinguished

There recently appeared a new weekly devoted to matters of interest to those who patronise the Cinema. Its title is "Film Flashes," and one of the flashes that illuminated its first number is reproduced below. It is worth noting as a manifestation of the class war: as one of the methods employed by the master class to suppress anything that would tend to enlighten the workers. The cutting follows.

Peter Watkins: A Revolutionary Film-Maker pt.1

To mark the 80th birthday of film-maker Peter Watkins, we examine his unfairly neglected work.

Peter Watkins, the film auteur, has been subject to massive marginalisation of his work. His entire oeuvre has seemingly met with extreme disapproval by the state, the power structures in capitalism and its ideological support structure, the mass media. Watkins can be a difficult film artist but he is essential cinema, the pioneer of the faux docudrama where he dissects historical events, the present day, or the near future. He described himself as a libertarian socialist and campaigns against false, stale and authoritarian film-making.

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