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  Committee, The Stick To The Rules
Year: 1968
Director: Peter Sykes
Stars: Paul Jones, Tom Kempinski, Jimmy Gardner, Robert Langdon Lloyd, Pauline Munro, Arthur Brown
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is a young man, the Central Figure (Paul Jones) in our story, who has been hitchhiking. He is picked up by a talkative chap (Tom Kempinski) who is keen to tell the young man all about himself while he listens, but soon they hear a knocking sound from the engine and the driver stops in a glade and invites the young man to get out and investigate with him. This they do, but while the driver is bent with his head over the engine of the car, on impulse his erstwhile passenger slams down the bonnet on his neck, and after a struggle decapitates him.

This alarming beginning, all the stranger for its tranquil presentation, sets us on just under an hour of prime nineteen-sixties art film. Nowadays most true art films are made for installations in galleries, but back then you could go and see one in your nearest sympathetic cinema if you so desired. It was based on a short story by Max Steuer, who also produced and wrote the script, and concerns itself with the problem of conformity in modern society, with our Central Figure (that's how he's billed in the credits, incidentally) set up as the nonconformist who has to be rehabilitated.

Should you be worried about the bloke who had his head cut off, don't worry because after the young man takes it into the forest and contemplates it over a smoke, he returns it to the car and sews it back onto the body. The driver is a little dazed, but apparently none the wiser, making you wonder how the Committee of the title finds out about this act. But find out they do, and when the young man is at his work - he seems to be an architect or designer - he receives a letter telling him his presence is required at an establishment of the ruling class.

What he does there is wander around and eventually hold a conversation with the man in charge (Robert Langdon Lloyd) where his place in society is worked out. It's all very cerebral, and notably unexciting even on an intellectual level, but nevertheless has a matter of fact oddness that appeals. Today it will mostly be of interest to Pink Floyd fans as it features portions of their music on the soundtrack, although by no means enough to satisfy any but the most obscurity-obsessed afficionado. Alternatively, Arthur Brown fans might like to see him miming, crown aflame, to one of his songs in a party scene, and he fits right in funnily enough. That apart, a meditation on free will in a strictly ordered community, or indeed nation, is what's on offer here, and therefore recommended to those intrigued by pretentious sixties ephemera.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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