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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...


Australia, 1978
MIFF Patron Geoffrey Rush presents a film that had a formative experience on him, Fred Schepisi's The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith. A Q&A session featuring Geoffrey Rush and Fred Schepisi will follow th… More »

The Skin Game

Australia, 1969
An advertising film, presenting a long-established product in new-style marketing terms. ... Silver Award, Australian Film Awards 1970 ... More »

Jigglers Unlimited

Australia, 1971
An advertising film extolling the virtues of teabags. ... More »

The Shape of Quality

Australia, 1965
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 Rel… More »

People Make Papers

Australia, 1966
An impressionistic account of the production of a newspaper. ... Golden Reel Award, Public Relations Category, Australian Film Awards. ... More »

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