Privilege

Peter Watkins. 1966. United Kingdom (Great Britain). vo English. s French. 90’

In 1966, following the collapse of a film which I hoped to develop with Albert Finney’s production company, on the 1916 Easter uprising in Dublin, I was approached by John Heyman, a British artists’ agent, to make a film based on an original screenplay by Johnny Speight, which dealt with the influence of Steven Shorter, a pop star in the 1960s. American novelist Norman Bognor and I adapted the script, which we retitled ‘Privilege’, to emphasize the significance of Steven Shorter as an allegory for the manner in which national states, working via religion, the mass media, sports, Popular Culture, etc., divert a potential political challenge by young people. In case this theme appears exaggerated, it is important to keep in mind that it was set in the ‘swinging Britain’ of the 1960s, and was prescient of the way that Popular Culture and the media in the US commercialized the anti-war and counter-culture movement in that country as well. ‘Privilege’ also ominously predicted what was to happen in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain of the 1980s - especially during the period of the Falkland Islands War.

http://pwatkins.mnsi.net/