The War Game 1965 Ages 15+

6.00PM Wed 14 Mar 2018 (48mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

The War Game will screen from an archival 35mm film print.

Peter Watkins' The War Game is so unflinching in its commitment to vérité sylisation that it managed to win the 1965 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature - despite being a fiction film. As Threads 1984 would emulate decades later, The War Game utilisesthe cinematographic language of dispassionate newsreels to tell the story of a British town in the aftermath of a major nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

Originally commissioned by the BBC to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Watkins' film was deemed too horrifying to broadcast on television and was instead relegated to limited theatrical engagements. It would not be shown on British television for another 20 years.

And certainly the film is unwavering in its depiction of the civil collapse that follows the bombing: rioters are executed by the newly empowered police, food shortages are rampant, and the city lies in tatters. In an ironic twist, when the film's broadcast was cancelled, the BBC filled its timeslot with screenings of ingenuous 'duck and cover' preparation shorts that were incapable of engaging seriously with the realities of nuclear war. The War Game has no such qualms with shying away from the brutality of fact and, half a century later, it remains as vital ever.

CREDITS

16MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 48 MINUTES, UK, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PETER WATKINS / CINEMATOGRAPHERS: PETER BARTLETT, PETER SUSCHITZKY / EDITOR: MICHAEL BRADSELL / PRODUCTION CO: BBC / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE OF AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: BBC / SCREENING FORMAT: 35MM