Close Up

5 September 2018: Culloden


Peter Watkins
1964 | 75 min | B/W | Digital

“Watkins’s first film for the BBC, Culloden is an historical reconstruction of the last battle fought on British soil and the ensuing destruction of the Scottish highland clans after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Praised by critics for its graphic realism and cinéma-vérité style (it uses hand-held cameras, interviews with soldiers and warriors on the battlefield, nonprofessional actors), the film has even been employed by the U.S. Army for a course in military history. For Watkins, however, the film’s acute realism is a weakness, allowing viewers a comfortable distance from the truly disturbing issues being raised: an underlying commentary on Vietnam, imperialism, and so-called "documentary" journalistic practices.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Peter Watkins