Michael Hirschorn, writing for The Atlantic, discusses a somewhat forgotten filmmaker, Peter Watkins, who “anticipated our modern media madness.” He describes:
“…the uncanny way his films, most of them dating back to the ’60s and ’70s, presage the contemporary cultural and political [media] landscape–from Fox News to The Daily Show, from reality TV to the coverage of the Iraq War…Watkins specializes in historical and current-affairs re-creations, but his real subject has always been the media…Watkins’ later films ratchet up the intensity of his media critique, dropping the contemporary press into wildly anachronistic environments. In his last film, the six-hour (!), French-language La Commune (Paris 1871), rival networks cover the events of that March as if they’re fodder for your local news, complete with man-in-the-street interviews and expert commentary from bow-tied men a stutter step away from the ex-generals who fanned out across the airwaves in the month after the 2003 Iraq invasions, rationalizing the fiasco thousands of miles away.”
–Michael Hirschorn, The Atlantic, “He Saw It Coming,” November, 2008
La Commune (Paris 1871) and five other Watkins films are available for check-out from Van Pelt Library. See listing with descriptions in VCat.