Cinema: Pop Messiah

Privilege. In The War Game, British Director Peter Watkins offered one possible direction for England in "the near future": a civilization getting on by animal instinct following an atomic war. Privilege proposes an equally bleak alternative: a society still outwardly human, groveling in stupor before a cheap messiah. This pseudo savior is a moronic pop singer who combines the sequinned splendor of an Elvis Presley with the sullen magnetism of a Bob Dylan, draining adoring audiences of emotion and common sense with his bathetic keening.

In Watkins' vision, the singer (Paul Jones) is a commodity to be leased to all takers, by...

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