The most concretely narrative film I've seen from Watkins, there are bits that are criticizing the vapidity of media that seem vapid in and of themselves. And the pop star's final break is significantly less contentious than Fiona Apple's "This World is Bullshit" speech, but it does go to show that cancel culture has been around a lot longer than people typically acknowledge.
D'une violence éthique et morale inouïe, traversée d'une radicalité inhumaine et vomitive, cette oeuvre majeure de Peter Watkins, profondément visionnaire, dénonce un scandaleux état de fait et de culture, largement entré dans les moeurs et les outrances, aujourd'hui et à tout jamais, assujetti aux sonnantes exigences du business... www.cinefiches.com
Having seen Punishment Park and Culloden I was interested to see this. It is less successful than the aforementioned. The problem is the characterisation of Steven Shorter. He is so vacant and stupid that it makes being with him a struggle and I didn't care about his fate at all.
A classic, impeccable work of "fictional documentary", pioneered by the incredible Peter Watkins. Patti Smith had one of her biggest hits with a cover of the eponymous opening number of this exceptional and rarely seen film by one of the most important directors of out-of-the-box documentaries.
The thing is this film received so many harsh critics, withdrew after brief screenings from media back in 60's [too paranoid, too hysterical, they said] but today it gets pleasant appraise. Watkins is way ahead of his time. Everyone should see this film for atleast they could add a little bit of healthy paranoia of "they want something, don't they?" to those that laid over hysterical and hypeness
Second viewing and my mind is still blown over how good this is but also how underseen this masterpiece really is. This should've been one of the most important British films of the 60's but instead it was forgotten in all its controversies and lack of home video distribution as with the rest of his filmography (War Games excluded). Luckily, it's now available for everyone to see.
Unlikely as it may sound, given Watkin's Marxist/Anarchist politics, I first saw this on broadcast TV in 1973, in rural CT. It details, in a deliberate, emotionally distant, manner, the rise and fall of a British Pop star, and the uses to which his stardom is put by the government and the corporations that control it. Though made in 1967 and set ten years in the future, it speaks eloquently of our present time.