A daringly anarchic vision of 1960’s class-ridden British society, Lindsay Anderson’s striking tale of schoolboy revolt perfectly captured the atmosphere and absurdities of public school life and delivered its satire with a healthy dose of revolutionary venom.
When a group of public schoolboys express their contempt for the institution in small acts of rebellion, their non-conformity is greeted with harsh punishment, prompting them to adopt more extreme methods. Malcolm McDowell makes a hell of an impression as the insouciant student Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent saviour in the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters.
Mixing colour and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, this key film in British history remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.
This screening is part of the May ’68: Film and the Revolution season at Watershed.