An anguished foster child takes to mischief and lies as his foster parents do their best to love and care for him. But it might be too little, too late in this emotionally devastating portrayal of the orphaned child.
Two travellers are tormented by Satan from inn to inn and eventuly experience a buggy ride through the heavens courtesy of the Devil before he takes one of them down to hell and roasts him ... See full summary »
After the August 1963 premier of this short film at the Venice Film Festival and the later one in December of her current film THE MAN WHO FINALLY DIED (co-starring Stanley Baker and Peter Cushing which I own but have yet to watch), Swedish actress Mai Zetterling would only ever appear in a few more movies in her lifetime. Perhaps it was her winning the Best Short category in Venice that decided her in abandoning a 20-year-old career in front of the cameras for a more rewarding one behind it. Whatever the case may be, her best directorial achievements came in the first decade of her transition, were made in collaboration with her writer/husband David Hughes and culminated in her being one of several international film-makers to helm an episode from the official 1972 Munich Olympics film, VISIONS OF EIGHT (1973).
Although I own a trio of her other more renowned works, THE WAR GAME not to be confused with Peter Watkins' later anti-nuclear short that was eventually banned by the BBC is the first of her efforts that I am watching. The 15-minute short has a simple enough premise: two young lads (ostensibly left in the care of the indolent grandfather of one of them) spend a lazy Sunday afternoon chasing one another with toy guns, firstly through the desolate London streets, then through the staircases of a block of flats and, finally, up on the perilous rooftops. Just as the blonde-haired antagonist is about to slip and fatally lose his grip, he clutches the shirt of the dark-haired protagonist; this life-saving event seems the right thing to make of them lifelong pals thereafter if only the former's real gun had not fallen to the ground and their subsequent tussle for its possession leads to the predictable tragedy occurring offscreen! While not a particularly great film, it is sensitively and unobtrusively observed and, given the increasingly indoor nature of children's relaxation, one does wonder if such incidents can still happen 50 years on
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