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Australia, 1976 (MIFF 1976)

Director: Fred Schepisi

Selected for The Director's Fortnight at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, The Devil's Playground, set in a college-seminary, reveals the effects of rigid institutional control on people of a variety of ages, pubescent boys and their tutors, the Brothers of the Order.

The story develops mainly around 13-year-old Tom Allen who is desperately trying to realise what he believes to be his vocation, and yet is deeply disturbed by pressures he can neither understand nor control.

On the surface, the institution seems in its tranquil beauty, an ideal place for learning, contem¬plation, and purposeful activity of mind and body according to the tenets of the Order. Below the surface, however, it is a hotbed in which discipline backfires.

The religious setting is symbolic, for institutional environments exist at all levels of society and groups of people, irrespective of beliefs. And, where rigid control of human lives is attempted in the name of good intention, they stilt create situations of which we exclaim, 'My God! How could it happen?'

See also...


"The people in Fred Schepisi's The Devil's Playground are like sculpted figures that glow with their own light." - New Yorker ... The Devil's Playground revolves around Tom Allen, a 13-year-old boy ... More »

Jigglers Unlimited

An advertising film extolling the virtues of teabags. ... More »

People Make Papers

An impressionistic account of the production of a newspaper. ... Golden Reel Award, Public Relations Category, Australian Film Awards. ... More »

The Shape of Quality

The manufacture of the body, and the assembly of the complete Volkswagen, is shown in this film which is distinguished by complex camera work and striking colour effects. ... Silver Award, Public ... More »

The Skin Game

An advertising film, presenting a long-established product in new-style marketing terms. ... Silver Award, Australian Film Awards 1970 ... More »


Fred Schepisi returns with an engaging take on the acclaimed 1973 novel by Australian Nobel laureate Patrick White. ... As the wealthy and powerful Mrs Hunter (Charlotte Rampling) approaches death ... More »

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