#34 – ’68

(1982, GB, 102 min) Dir Michael Apted. Cast Alfred Molina, Paul McGann, Alexi Sayle.

British film about a young man called David (a scouse Molina) trying to hitch from Liverpool to Paris in the year of the riots so that he can join in with the revolution but it takes him half of the film to get to Dover. Along the way to Paris he meets a young actor who thinks that he’s Jesus, “the original revolutionary” (McGann), an Italian opera singing truck driver (Sayle, who co-wrote) and, once he gets across the channel, a car filled with a nervous French family, at which point we realise that along with the handicap of his naïve politicking, that the young man speaks no French. Of course by the time he gets to Paris the rioting is done and the cobblestones are back in place – not that that stops him being brained by le flics he annoys with his ranting and being tossed into the nearest cell along with a terrifying young bruiser called Phillipe (a young Denis Lavant). A film that looks back at the person it was before and being embarrassed about it whilst simultaneously reminiscing wistfully on the subject. An interesting film of its time about the time before that forms a kind of a hall of mirrors of cultural self-regard.

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