Made with a cast of 192 non-professional actors, Evening Land continues to explore the form of fictional documentary intervening polemically into a period of intense debates about the media... See full summary »
Kai Schøning Andersen,
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 second part (My ain folk) of Bill Douglas' influential trilogy harks back to his impoverished upbringing in early-'40s Scotland. Cinema was his only escape - he paid for it with the ... See full summary »
Jean Taylor Smith
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 »
The Seventies Folk is a 1975 television docu-drama written and directed by Peter Watkins that was produced by Dansmark Radio. The tele-film explores the high suicide rate in Denmark, the ... See full summary »
Erik L. Christensen
Enjoying a revival on the art-house circuit, this reconstruction of the famous last battle fought on British soil uses modern documentary-style reporting to convey immediacy. An effective and bloodthirsty film, it covers a landmark period of Scots-Anglo history, showing not only the senseless waste of human life, the total incompetence of the Bonnie Prince Charles as a military leader, but the barbaric excesses of both Scots and English, and the iniquity and the Scottish clan' system. The period opened the way for the clearances' where indigenous people were shipped off and the land used for (more profitable and less troublesome) sheep farming.
It really doesn't have anything very good to say about anyone, English or Scots, but this won't stop many English feeling it is racist and one-sided (just as the English critics as a whole were the only ones in the world to lambaste the magnificently spectacular but historically inaccurate, Braveheart). Watkins may well have had a political agenda the film was likened to a social commentary on the American involvement in Vietnam (as the gutting of the Gaelic Highlands by the Noble Army was said to parallel the pacification' of the Vietnamese by the U.S. Army). Culloden, however, is not only a key historical massacre but almost part of Scottish folklore. Arguing the details of the battle is still a not uncommon pub conversation, especially to the north and west of the country. My favourite version is by an elderly lady who lives near Culloden (just outside of Inverness) who tells it like she was there'. The movie, although originally made for television, is also a landmark, and riveting stuff, but whether it can justifiably be used to further a pro-Scottish Independence agenda is much shakier, given that it happened a long time ago.
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