Cinema: If Does Not Equal Zero

Lindsay Anderson is a director who knows a good movie when he sees one, and apparently he has seen Jean Vigo's 1933 masterpiece, Zero for Conduct. Anderson's If ... contains ideas, characters and even a climactic scene reminiscent of Zero. The difference lies in accomplishment. James Agee rightly called Zero "one of the few great movie poems." Anderson's If . . . is occasionally powerful and moving, but even at its best it is never more than forceful and faintly mannered prose.

Like Zero, If . . . has a loose patchwork of schoolboy...

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