a 274-minute documentary portrait of the life of playwright August Strindberg. The topic of the movie is inextricable from its method of production: for two years, beginning in 1992, Watkins created the film in a communal collaboration.
The War Game is a fictional, worst-case-scenario docu-drama about nuclear war and its aftermath in and around a typical English city. Although it won an Oscar for Best Documentary, it is ... See full summary »
This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration ... See full summary »
An early example of ultra-realism, this movie contrasts the quiet, bucolic life in the outskirts of Paris with the harsh, gory conditions inside the nearby slaughterhouses. Describes the ... See full summary »
When Peter Watkins made "Culloden" in 1964, most historical films tended to melodramatic costume dramas - this is as far from that as possible.
This is one of the early uses of "docudrama" technique, using voice-over, rapid editing, hand-held camera and interviews with the 1746 characters. Based on the John Prebble book of the same title, the film is full of terrible facts. The Highland clan system was brutal - as was the English system. None seem attractive by today's standards. The audience is introduced to the effects of cannonade, grapeshot, bayonet & claymore. The non-actors who play the Highland peasants, speak in Gaelic, emphasising the cultural divide between the Highlands and Westminster. Nearly all the dialogue is quotes from the time. Irony piles on irony - the Catholic Highlanders are fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie, a man more familiar with Polish, Italian & French than English or Gaelic. The Protestant Scots & British are fighting for a German - George II. The shaky black & white footage of the British massacre of Scots wounded, is horribly reminiscent of World War II Nazi footage (as it is meant to be). Watkins revulsion at British brutalities and sympathy for the Highlanders, caused a storm of controversy when the BBC televised it. The reaction was so strong, the BBC did not reshow it for years. Edited versions exist, with less violence. I first saw this in the 1960's and it is as strong an argument for Scottish independence as the more colourful "Braveheart". Recommended for all history & military buffs.
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