Being heavily into old film classics at the moment I have been plundering the stacks at the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek (library) for films I never knew existed and found The War Game, a quasi documentary directed by Peter Watkins. Not since I saw Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc have I been so impressed with the camera work. If I watch a film today with highly mobile camera that’s unsteady and always on the move I know the director in most cases is trying to be innovative. But in 1965 to make an entire 47-minute film for television in this style required both courage and a high level of talent. The film (about the effects of a nuclear strike on the English population) was far too realistic and would have scared the television audience shitless (it still has the power to do so today) and so it was banned by the BBC. Ironically, the film later played in theatres and in 1967 won the Oscar for best documentary, despite being a fictional work.
Today’s picture was shot in a tiny New York hotel room I was staying in in 1996. The man in the picture, Vladimir Zelenin, had just been sentenced to 22 and 1/2 years in jail for the murder of the exiled Russian scientist Yakov Gluzman.
What does it have to do with The War Games?
Camera; Konica Hexar f2.0 Film; Kodak Negative 100asa.