Privilege (1967)

Article #1256 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-22-2004
Posting Date: 1-19-2005
Directed by Peter Watkins
Featuring Paul Jones, Jean Shrimpton, Mark London

In the near future, a pop star is being manipulated by the government in an attempt to control the potentially violent youth of the nation.

This is only the second movie I’ve seen by Peter Watkins; the other one is PUNISHMENT PARK. Though I liked the pseudo-documentary style there, I thought that movie was painfully predictable; I knew exactly how it was going to end five minutes into the movie. This one is much richer; it’s more unpredictable, and it’s satirical jabs seem sharper and more effective. It’s also anchored by a great performance by Paul Jones, who was the lead vocalist for Manfred Mann. The movie isn’t subtle, but it is thought-provoking, and even slightly humorous at times. It is somewhat dated, but I do think that some of its messages are still relevant, especially those involving political use of mass media and the way fan worship can have a soul-sucking effect on a celebrity. The scene near the end of the movie where the singer receives an award is great.


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