28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The War Game

The War Game

director: Peter Watkins
original title: The War Game
country: United Kingdom
year: 1966
running time: 48 min.


This Oscar-winning docudrama shows in terrifying detail what a nuclear attack on Britain might look like. In a series of scenes that imitate a wartime newsreel style, we see glimpses of charred bodies, buildings damaged beyond repair, and mass executions of looters and rioters flash onscreen. However, the roles as we know them from typical British patriotic documentaries have been reversed here in provocative fashion. The oppressor who seeks to maintain order after a nuclear explosion is not the enemy soldiers, but rather the British government. The film, originally produced for the BBC, was found by the station's management to be so disturbing that they refused to broadcast it. After its short release at the National Film Theatre in London in 1966 and subsequent screenings at film festivals abroad that same year, the film was buried in the vault for two decades before the wider British public was finally able to see it in 1985 on TV, one year after the premiere of the similarly themed made-for-TV film, Threads (1984).

“Obviously beyond and above the question of form was my concern to use the film to help people break the silence in the media on the nuclear arms race.” — Peter Watkins

Source: http://pwatkins.mnsi.net/warGame.htm


In cooperation with BBC, the film screening is free of charge.


Peter Watkins (* 1935) is an English film and TV director and one of the pioneers of docudrama. The majority of his films use a combination of dramatic and documentary elements to analyze historical events or things that could theoretically happen. He usually focuses on the role the media plays in deconstructing and fabricating the past.

more about film

director: Peter Watkins
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas