Skip to main content

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

See also...

WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK AND ROLL

Do you love metal enough to shave Ozzie Osborne's name into your chest hair? If so, see Penelope Spheens' (Wayne's World, The Decline of Western Civilisation), We Sold Our Souls for Rock and ... More »

Stoney Knows How

Stoney Knows How is a sensitive portrayal of the life of Leonard “Stoney" St. Clair, West Virginia-born master tattoo artist. Stoney is a unique representative of at least two subcultures ... More »

Mind Comp

A homage to Eisenstein utilising found library footage and original footage of "commutensed" Chicago today. ... More »

EL SALVADOR: ANOTHER VIETNAM

Ei Salvador: Another Vietnam ... investigates the history of the crisis and the forces that have embroiled the U.S. in this Central American conflict. The film paints a disturbing picture: 50 years ... More »

Commuter

An animated day in the life of a commuter in Chicago . . . but it could be any city. ... More »

Artists at Work

Artists at Work is a documentary on a unique period in American culture: the ... widespread government support for artists during the Depression of the 1930s. ... The film includes statements by ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director