Film - Feature | October 16 | 3:10 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Which side will you be on? asked the ads for Lindsay Andersons surrealist dissection of conformity and oppression, metaphorically set in that most brutal of institutions: boarding school. Dont speak to us; youre scum, scowl the stuffy, well-sodomized senior leaders of College House, cruelly keeping order like true sons of the Establishment. The lackadaisical fantasist Travis (Malcolm McDowell) couldnt care less about school or leadership; hes got other things on his mind, like revolution and girls. The seniors taunts (Youre a degenerate, Travis) barely register, until hes reprimanded through more traditional, brutal means, an act that may trigger revolution after all. A tribute to Jean Vigos Zero for Conduct, If . . . may be set in school, but its metaphors of social control (and how to fight it) reach far beyond, to the barricades of 1968. Special mention goes to If . . .s Czech cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek, whose political satires with Milos Forman (especially Firemens Ball) echo throughout this furious work.
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