Peter Watkins

Peter Watkins – Fällan AKA The Trap (1975)

In the year 1999, totalitarianism prevails with the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. colluding to govern the world by strict rules. Chaos erupts on the surface but state employees live safely underground. A radical and his son, visit his brother John’s family in the bunkers and the discourse grows hot. Read More »

Peter Watkins – Culloden (1964)

The 1746 Battle of Culloden, the last land battle fought in the British Isles and the battle that ensured that Scotland was controlled by England. Not only do we see the battle unfold but also the lead-up, the key people involved and the aftermath. Read More »

Peter Watkins – Edvard Munch [TV version] (1974)

The entire point of Peter Watkins’s cinematic career, so he seems to indicate in his interview with himself in the liner notes for New Yorker Video’s Edvard Munch DVD, is to directly challenge the perception deadening (at best) and enslaving (at worst) effects of the hegemony of 20th-century media, the conception of which was arguably the arrival of the moving picture. Strangely enough, two of his most acclaimed films take place decades before the Edison’s kinetoscope, but Watkins seems to use the anachronism of creating a hypothetical “first-person cinema” in the B.C. years to accentuate his impassioned appeal for elevated media consciousness. His recent six-hour millennial masterwork La Commune (Paris, 1871) was blunt about it, framing a rag-tag experimental theater ensemble attempting to reenact a moment of French social resistance with televised coverage from within (two community reporters practically serving as the film’s tour guides) and without (daily reports from the State-suckling network distorting the public’s all-but-assigned opinion). Read More »

Peter Watkins – The War Game (1966)


Peter Watkins’ The War Game, which was filmed in handheld documentary fashion, speculates on the aftereffects of a nuclear war. Some of the images are almost impossible to look at; they truly illustrate the theory that, in the wake of such a holocaust, the living will envy the dead. The most heart-wrenching scene is the simplest. Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, a sullen young boy, physically unhurt but with obviously deep emotional scars, mutters “I don’t want to be nothin’.” Filmed for BBC television, The War Game was rejected by that august concern as being too graphic. The 47-minute film was released to theatres, making it eligible for the Best Documentary Academy Award, which it won in 1966 Read More »

Peter Watkins – Privilege (1967)

The story is set in the near future of the 1970s and concerns a disillusioned pop singer, played by Jones, who is manipulated by the church and state which seek to turn him into a messianic leader.

Steven Shorter is the ultimate British music star. His music is listened to by everyone from pre-teens to grandparents. He has no trace of public bad habits or drug involvement. Everyone in Britain loves him. His handlers begin to use his popularity for projects like increasing the consumption of apples after a bumper crop as an aid to farmers. Read More »

Peter Watkins – Resan AKA The Journey (1987)

A global peace film produced in 1983-86 by the Swedish Peace & Arbitration Society and local support groups in Sweden, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, USSR, Mexico, Japan, Scotland, Polynesia, Mozambique, Denmark, France, Norway, West Germany, with post-production support from the National Film Board in Montreal, Canada. Read More »

Peter Watkins – Fritänkaren aka The Freethinker (1994)

“This is Peter Watkins (epic) companion-piece to his highly acclaimed “Edvard Munch” (1974). “The Freethinker” examines the life, art, and times of the noted Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, author of Miss Julie, Inferno, and Dance of Death. Strindberg is depicted as a rebel, and idealistic and controversial iconoclast who openly criticized the hypocrisy of 19th century society.” (p. back cover) The film broadly focuses on 3 aspects of Strindberg’s life- the impact of his childhood on his psychology and future work; the meaning of his relationship with his first wife, and the way in which Strindberg, as an author, created works that confronted the social injustices of their time. Read More »