Socialist Worker

Screening a time of revolt

Films, videos and DVDs - The uprisings in 1968 changed millions of lives and also sparked a revolution in the cinema

Issue No. 1881

THE GREAT rebellions of 1968 inspired many innovative and exciting films. The National Film Theatre in London is showing a season of films inspired by 1968. But don't worry if you can't make it-some of the best are available on video or DVD, and some are shown regularly on TV.

These are some of the best to look out for.

Z directed by Costa-Gavras

A brilliant political thriller which dramatises the Greek generals' brutal military coup of 1967 and stars top French actor Yves Montand. The events are prompted when Deputy Z is run over by a car. The subsequent investigation reveals dark forces at work in Greek society. The film is both gripping and shocking and lays bare the ruthlessness of the Greek generals.

Milou en Mai directed by Louis Malle

Shows how deeply the student revolt of May 1968 shook the French ruling classes. Milou lives with his mother in a grand country house in provincial France. When his mother dies suddenly, he invites a whole host of upper crust relatives to the house to hear the will. But the student uprising has broken out. Milou and his relatives argue over his mother's estate. But their family squabble turns to political drama when they are mistakenly led to believe that the locals are in revolt against them and flee their house.

Zabriskie Point directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Acclaimed as a masterpiece of counter-culture, complete with rock soundtrack, and a powerful and controversial depiction of rebellion in the heart of the US. The film is set on a US college campus where students are in revolt over the Vietnam War and a minority are impatient for change.

If... directed by Lindsay Anderson

A classic of late 1960s film-making, If... is set in a repressive English public school, which serves as a metaphor for stuffy, class-ridden British society. Three pupils rebel against their right wing teachers and the whole establishment they represent.

Queimada reissued as Burn! directed by Gillo Pontecorvo

The Battle of Algiers directed by Gillo Pontecorvo

These are two of the most important anti-colonial and and anti-imperialist films ever made. They have never been more relevant. Burn! is a panoramic film about the rebellion of black slaves in the 18th century Caribbean. It shows the lives of the black masses and the development of revolutionary anti-colonialism. The film was shunned by cinemas when it was released at the height of the Vietnam War, and its impact is undiminished today. The Battle of Algiers was made in 1966. It is a documentary-style film that is not only a cinematic masterpiece, but also a warning to great powers that try to crush resistance movements. It is set in the mid-1950s, and shows the organisation of a guerrilla movement and the methods used to decimate it by the colonial power. The Battle of Algiers was banned in France for some time and the torture scenes were cut from versions distributed in Britain and America, but it is now widely available and has just been released on DVD.


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Sat 13 Dec 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1881
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