Brit bad boy Malcolm McDowell didn't have his poster thumb-tacked to as many bedroom walls as James Dean or Marlon Brando did, but only because he hailed from a smaller country. As an exemplar of cinematic rebellion, though, no one was bigger. McDowells crackling portrayal of revolution-minded public schoolboy Mick Travis in If is one of the key performances of 1960s cinema. A highlight of this months Around 68 series and an essential film for any celebration of (or memorial to) that years worldwide student protests Lindsay Andersons 1968 masterpiece demolishes the old world of class hierarchy and adolescent indoctrination. Less-known and decidedly less optimistic, Nagisa Oshimas chilling The Man Who Left His Will on Film (screening with If only on May 24) follows an avowedly political young filmmaker trying to get to the bottom of a fellow artists suicide. Just two years after McDowell blasted away at every target in sight from the roof of his school, Oshima was asking hard questions about arts ability to effect change. From this vantage point, 40 years on, the ambivalence of the 60s remains unresolved.
screens tonight at 6:30 (and Saturday at 1 p.m., followed at 3 by The Man Who Left His Will on Film)
Thu., May 22; Sat., May 24, 2008