The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, July 6-12

privilege-peter watkins

Privilege (1967)
Directed by Peter Watkins
It’s hard to imagine a contemporary audience being shocked by anything in Watkins’s acid-tongued mockumentary about rock star fascism in 70s England. The prophecy of fictional rocker Steven Shorter (Manfred Mann’s lead singer Paul Jones), who is nothing more than a puppet controlled by big business to manipulate the masses, has been fulfilled so often over the last forty years that any recent attempts at satirizing the music industry have been met with fading interest. In fact, Watkins’s vision of pop culture’s future seems tame compared to how it actually turned out. A scene in which Shorter dons a medieval costume and sings in a advertisement for apples is a quaint precursor to the time when Dylan hawked women’s lingerie or Led Zeppelin pushed Cadillacs. This scrappy film is Spinal Tap‘s paranoid and disillusioned older brother. AJ Serrano (July 6, 7pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, followed by a conversation and book signing with Chuck Klosterman)

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