Hot and steamy mini-documentary action on today’s FAM in the form of The Return of A Clockwork Orange, Film4’s look at the controversial film 30 years after director Stanley Kubrick banned the film’s showing in the UK. I’m going to assume that if you have any interest in this you are familiar with both the film and the book it was based on, so I’ll not go over them here.
Even with a working knowledge of Clockwork Orange it is difficult, I think, for modern audiences to understand why a film like this would cause such an uproar, saturated as we are with films that go way beyond Kubrick’s film in terms of graphic depictions of violence, both physical and sexual. The Return of A Clockwork Orange does an excellent job, then, of painting a picture of the political and social climate of England in the early 70s, giving a much clearer for the context for the furor over this film. Released in the same year that saw Ken Russell’s beautiful, bloody The Devils and Sam Peckinpah’s shocking Straw Dogs it was the crescendo in an increasingly heated debate on whether films should be allowed to portray such extreme behavior — a debate that continues today mostly concerning those video games the kids seem to love so much.
The end result is a short but well-informed look at a war between a nation and one of film’s greatest visionaries.
Addendum: Apologies for the inferior quality of this video. This version features much clearer visuals but the audio gets completely out of sync by the second part.