Top 7+ Youth, Uniforms & Dictatorship

Being a parallel or a sequel of the post 7+ Boys, Schools & Prison, the following list is formed by seven movies that boys face dictatorship in school, on war and at the social environment of their jobs; a theme that I really enjoy on cinema. More than that, these are seven movies that I believe they kind of dialogue with each other by pushing young men into their limit psychologically during their youth.


The Bridge (1959) by Bernhard Wicki

Having a recent release and restoration from the Criterion Collection, The Bridge is an unknown German pearl that portrays the illusions of young boys during the Second World War. Inspired by true events, the film focus on 16 teenage German elite boys who are trying to prove their worth to their family and school and decide to join the army to fight in the great war. This process will lead to a tragic event on a bridge that will question you the influence of our parents and the institutions we study on us.


All Quiet On the Western Front (1930) by Lewis Milestone

Being probably the latest masterpiece I’ve watched, this Best Picture Academy Award Winner is a beautiful, tragic and spectacular work of art that also portrays German boys who are influenced by their masters to fight for their country in the First World War. Being shot in a time where the WWII was ten years away and full of silent-film language, All Quiet On the Western Front is known for its modern and audacious battle scenes and how it portrays the influence of so-called specialists and the damage they can do on people.


Torment (1944) by Alf Sjoberg

Written by no one less than Ingmar Bergman, Torment talks about the school influence on students and how they brainwash and manipulate people. The story focus on Jan-Erik, a senior student about to graduate who is facing problems with a fascist director whose students call him Caligula. After being involved with a troubled girl, the pressure on Jan-Erik starts to tear his world apart by not being able to confront his teacher, his parents and his lover, resulting in a suffocating and interesting film that studies human behavior and the consequences of our acts on other people.


The Young Torless (1966) by Volker Schlondorff

What’s behind The Young Torless is way more interesting than its execution, making me wonder that the novel which is based on it’s probably way better than the movie. Nevertheless, Volker Schlondorf makes a beautiful job by telling the story of Torless, a young boy who starts to study in a boarding school in Austria at the beginning of the 1900s and joins a group of bullies who makes the hell out of the life of classmate named Bassini. The film plays with the concepts of what’s right and wrong, moral and immoral and good and evil with the contrast of the social-political behavior of young men at the time.


Closely Watched Trains (1966) by Jirí Menzel

Being probably the most notorious film from the Czech New Wave, Closely Watched Trains is a beautiful comedy that doesn’t necessarily contain dictatorship, but it definitely contains a boy with traits that are extremely the opposite of everything that was asked from men at the time and the struggles he faces. As the main character in the movie says, “everything in life is difficult for me, while everything seems to be a piece of cake to everyone else”. The film tells the story of Milos, a boy who starts working at a train station during the Second World War and how he tries to “man up” to get girls and be respected by his peers.


Il Posto (1961) by Ermanno Olmi

Some actors can have an expression that becomes the trademark of the film and this is definitely the case with Il Posto. Sandro Panseri plays Domenico, an Italian boy who tries to get a position in a big company to financially help his family. During the process of the interviews, he meets a girl and falls in love with her. More than a romantic coming-of-age story, Il Posto is marked by the dictatorship of life, the jobs we have to seek to become someone, the boys we have to fight to get the girl and the crazy things we do to prove our worth.


If… (1968) by Lindsay Anderson

Is kind of difficult to say what this film is about since there is so much going on in there! From sex and violence to repression and religion, If… is a sensorial film with surrealistic characteristics that talks about a group of friends who are repressed by their older peers, the rigid tradition of their school and Marxists ideals. If that’s not enough reason for this film to be on this list, the film won the Palm D’or at 1969 Cannes Film Festival and has Malcolm McDowell on his first screen role.

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