The War Game (Oscar 1966)

Peter Watkins's depiction of the impact of Soviet nuclear attack on Britain caused dismay within the BBC and in government. It was scheduled for transmission on August 6, 1966 but was not transmitted until 1985, the corporation publicly stating that "the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting".
Some of the images are almost impossible to look at; they truly illustrate the theory that, in the wake of such a
holocaust, the living will envy the dead. The most heartwrenching scene is the simplest. Asked what he
wants to be when he grows up, a sullen young boy, physically unhurt but with obviously deep emotional
scarred, mutters "I don't want to be nothin'".

The story is told in the style of a news magazine programme. Part interviews and quotations, part acting, this film simulates the aftermath of a large-scale nuclear attack near a rural area of England. It argues that citizens and Civil Defense authorities are poorly prepared for this eventuality, and describes possible physical, psychological and social damage in graphic detail.
It features several different strands that alternate throughout, including a documentary-style chronology of the main events, featuring reportage-like images of the war, the nuclear strikes, and their effects on civilians; brief contemporary interviews, in which passers-by are interviewed about their knowledge of nuclear war issues; optimistic commentary from public figures that clashes with the other images in the film; and fictional interviews with key figures as the war unfolds.
The "dramatic" sequences, with their highly "documentary" look, are retained as fragmentary and discontinuous illustrations of an ongoing documentary narrative which itself disorientingly moves back and forth between statements and assumptions that this is "really happening" before our eyes, and other types of proposition and warning that this is how it "could be" and "might look."
You can buy The War Game.

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