Blu-ray If... [Blu-ray] [Criterion Collection] (Blu-ray 15769687),
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If... [Blu-ray] [Criterion Collection]

  • R
  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Filmed at the time of the 1968 student uprising in Paris, Lindsay Anderson's IF. . . is one of the seminal films of the era of student revolt. The characters' direct psychological and emotional displays are an allegory for how individuals must either conform to or rebel against the autocratic authority that is imposed upon them in the face of a class-driven society. The microcosm for this allegory in IF... is College House, a typical English boarding school for boys 11-18 years of age. Malcolm McDowell makes a powerful debut in the role of Mick Travis, a student in his Junior year who becomes the leader of a student rebellion. The students are rebelling against the system which allows Senior prefects to control and discipline younger students--through physical beatings--for infractions of the schools arcane and arbitrary rules. When Mick is disciplined by the Seniors for his "bad attitude" he is punished in a harrowing scene which does not romanticize the violence he endures.

    Divided into chapters with on-screen titles, Anderson methodically shows Mick's transition from adolescent rebelliousness--growing a mustache--to more serious revolt. Anderson uses surrealism, in a style similar to that of Bunuel or even Monty Python. For instance, the headmaster keeps the school chaplain in a large drawer in his office. Clearly inspired by Jean Vigo's ZERO FOR CONDUCT, IF. . . manages to give a realistic, unsentimental view of English public school life, while connecting--largely through McDowell's wonderfully sympathetic portrait of anguished youth--to the theme of personal freedom vs. social order.

    Cannes Palme d'Or 1969

  • Credits
    Malcolm McDowell, Christine Noonan, Richard Warwick, David Wood
  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "With surreal elements....It success perhaps lies in cannily tapping the zeitgeist of the time."
    Ultimate DVD

    "Though more sombre than its successors, it shares with them a streak of surrealism and magic realism."
    Sight and Sound

    "[The film combines] innovative technique with corrosive humor..." -- Rating: A-
    Entertainment Weekly

    "...Much of its potency is due to the way former documentarian Anderson manages to blend European surrealism into the film's near-documentary style..."
    Total Film

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