Close Up

28 September 2018: Privilege


Peter Watkins
1967 | 103 min | Colour | Digital

“With Privilege, Watkins merged documentary style with metaphor to expand his interrogation of media and politics. The film was a product of Universal’s late 1960s European production program, which invited young European directors such as Watkins and François Truffaut to create low-budget features for the studio. More conventional than the director’s debut efforts, it nonetheless retains his trademark first-person interviews and pseudo documentary style. The story concerns Steven Shorter, a successful pop singer who is convinced by the government to perform violent theatrical rock that will distract youth from politics and social problems and lull them into a "fruitful conformity" with church and state. When Shorter withdraws after realizing he is being manipulated to control the public, his fans turn against him and he becomes an enemy of the state.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Peter Watkins