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The War Game (Peter Watkins, 1965)

A fakumentary about the consequences of a nuclear attack on Britain in the 60s.

The interesting part is how information and the accounts of fictional survivors of a nuclear attack on Britain is mixed. A number of (real?) experts give their opinion on the possible problems that would occur in case of nuclear warfare. This footage is intercut with staged footage of a burning houses, torn up survivors and many vox populi.

It shows to a comforting extent (or to an alarming extent, depending on how you look at it) that despite the advance of the digital age, the mass media, and the advertised rise in general education that the average person in the street is just as clueless today as it was about fifty years ago. Only a few people understand the danger of radiation, and even then, the information is jumbled and irritating.

While watching the film I could feel a certain pull towards sensationalism. The various stories of the war victims were sometimes chopped off a bit abrupt and the voice-over sometimes finds himself somewhere between pure pretense and Wochenschau rhetoric.

I wonder with what intentions this film was made. Part it is moral appeal against nuclear warfare on the other hand it carries a strong public service announcement tone across. Maybe that's the irony of the whole thing but is a bit hard to judge without the context.


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