Lord of the Flies (1963)

“Evil is inherent in the human mind, whatever innocence may cloak it …” Let’s see, a black-and-white film featuring a cast of unknown child actors and based on Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding’s first novel (which over the years has become required reading in high schools and colleges across the country) sounds like a total waste of 92 minutes, doesn’t it? However, this disturbing and ultimately pessimistic tale of a group of British school kids marooned on a desert island during an unnamed time of war is well worth a viewing (and it’s the next best thing to CliffsNotes if you are too lazy to read the book!). While kids such as “Ralph” (James Aubrey) and his annoying sidekick “Piggy” (Hugh Edwards), as well as Simon (Tom Gaman) strive to uphold the values of civilization, others such as “Jack” (Tom Chapin) and his followers resort to savagery. Oh yeah, symbolism abounds such as the conch shell (representing the state of civilization on the island) and the “Lord of the Flies” itself, the head of a pig impaled on a sharpened stick (representing the omnipresence of evil in the world). Directed by Peter Brook, Lord of the Flies was filmed entirely in Puerto Rico (Isla de Vieques) and much of the dialogue was reportedly improvised. Don’t confuse this film with the painfully average 1990 American version that starred Balthazar Getty. Brook also directed Marat/Sade (1967), which was based on the play of the same name by Peter Weiss. The full title is actually The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.

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