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THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILISATION

USA, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Penelope Spheeris

Seven Los Angeles bands are profiled in Penelope Spheeris' film, a provocative mix of at-home interviews and live-concert footage which attempts to pinpoint a sociological and musical phenomenon.

"The film is a chilling, stirring, astringent embodiment of youthful energy unleashed by desperation. Bands like Catholic Discipline, Fear, The Circle Jerks and especially X (which may be the best new rock combo in America) face up to the same urban horrors that have reduced their East Coast peers to numbed indifference. These kids, however, are fighting back: the noise they're making is active not passive, and II offers a surprising gleam of 'hope'." David Chute, Film Comment

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