"if...." won the Palme d'Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. In 1999, the British Film Institute named it the 12th greatest British film of the 20th century. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus, "Incendiary, subversive, and darkly humorous, 'If....' is a landmark of British countercultural cinema."
(1968) In an indictment of the British public school system, we follow Mick and his mostly younger friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse as any fond feelings toward these schools are destroyed. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark.
The film stars Malcolm McDowell in his first screen role and his first appearance as Anderson's "everyman" character Mick Travis. Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, David Wood, Mona Washbourne, and Robert Swann also star.
"If...." has references visually and structurally taken from Jean Vigo's 1933 classic featurette "Zero for Conduct," which also influenced Francois Truffaut's "The 400 Blows." Anderson had his screenwriters and crew watch the film before shooting. There is a good copy on archive.org HERE. The online version is very good and the MPEG2 version is 2 gb and can be downloaded.
Eric adds: The title ends with four periods, something that Lindsay Anderson insisted on … seemingly, an ellipsis plus its opposite, a full stop. The alteration between color and black and white was not, as has been widely reported, because they ran out of money while shooting. They needed to shoot natural-light scenes in the chapel in B&W, and Anderson liked the look and decided to use it elsewhere. We fully intend to screen its 1974 companion film, O Lucky Man!, some Sunday after life returns to normal.
HOW TO VIEW: "if...." is available on both Netflix and Kanopy.
THE SUNDAY MEETING: We'll send you an email with the location link and time of the meeting and you click on the link at the right time. If you don't have the software haven't used Zoom before this, Zoom will walk you through the process and you're in. Each meeting is usually limited to 40 minutes, though last time Zoom sent a message allowing us to go on indefintely (we ran almost two hours). Should we be cut off, go back and use the same code again and it should continue.