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3.8
760 Ratings

Elephant

Directed by Alan Clarke
United Kingdom, 1989
Short, Crime, Drama

Synopsis

Death in the streets, homes, parks and factories of Belfast. Alan Clarke’s drama – without character or narrative and shot in documentary style – is a shockingly frank depiction of the futility of sectarian murder.

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Elephant Directed by Alan Clarke

Critics reviews

No survey of the unregulated border between television and film is complete without a discussion of Alan Clarke, a true original among British TV directors… Here in the States, Elephant is probably best known for inspiring the Gus Van Sant film of the same title, though Clarke’s is head and shoulders the better movie, as well as one of the most inspired and morally committed uses of television to come out in the 1980s.
May 19, 2017
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In Elephant, Clarke’s “anti-” game would be on point: antiwar, anti-Troubles, anti-violence, anti-complacency, anti-narrative… You can watch Elephant dozens of times and still feel scraped raw every time at the sheer waste of life. Even Clarke’s hard-man fans can’t help but feel as if they’ve been gut-punched.
May 03, 2016
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Every one ends with a held shot on the murder scene, a forced contemplation in silence and sudden stillness. By the third or fourth, the viewer is primed to cringe at anyone walking anywhere, since the endpoint is always the same. The formalist rigour and factual basis distill the art and social concern of his work, and the film is the supreme manifestation of his experiments with withholding context towards the social purity of the physical event.
October 20, 2005
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