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If.... (1968) - movie overview

If.... (1968)

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Plot Description

Running Time
1 hour, 51 minutes

Country UK

More info on

Other Titles
• If....

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Genre: Drama, Gay/Lesbian, Coming Of Age, Buddies, Society, Cult Classic, Black Comedy, Surreal, School / Campus

Tagline: Which side would you be on?

Plot: 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

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 Directed by
Lindsay Anderson
O Lucky Man!, The Whales of August, This Sporting Life
 Written by
David Sherwin
O Lucky Man!, Britannia Hospital
Malcolm McDowell
A Clockwork Orange, Star Trek: Generations, I Spy
David Wood
Longitude, North Sea Hijack, Aces High
Richard Warwick
Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Jane Eyre
Robert Swann
Shackleton, The Creeping Flesh, Sense and Sensibility
Hugh Thomas
The Tall Guy, Breaking Glass
 Music By
Marc Wilkinson
The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, Satan's Skin, Enigma

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