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Apply a Marxist, Functionalist and Feminist analysis to the film 'If...'

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Introduction

Apply a Marxist, Functionalist and Feminist analysis to the film 'If...' 'If...' was released in 1968 by director Lindsay Anderson. It is a film from a Marxist perspective based on a privileged boys boarding school in the 1960's, and the rebellion against the traditional functionalist system enforced there. Lindsay Anderson was a Marxist born in India in April 1923 whose father was a Scottish army officer. Educated at Cheltenham College, he announced there his intention to 'rebel' and spent the rest of his life carrying out this aim. The film 'If...' reflects this as it shows a group of boys known as the 'Crusaders' form a rebellion against not only the strict regime of the school, but society itself. The film is structured into episodes under different headings to describe the different areas of interest such as college, term time, ritual and romance, discipline and resistance. Anderson's film shows Marxist, Functionalist and Feminist perspectives throughout and their ideals in correspondence to the issues included. The school system is strict and teaches the boys to conform to the norms and values of a capitalist society. They tell the boys to 'help the house and the house will help you' which encourages the boys to obey the rules. ...read more.

Middle

A scene is shown where the Whips beat the boys harshly for their rebellion against the system. Their 'unruly elements' are known to threaten the stability of the house and the Whips and staff believe they should be punished for this, the other students are ordered to sit in silence whilst their punishment is carried out as a warning for them to conform. The Crusaders are angry with society and shoot at the pictures of institutions such as the monarchy and school staff. Travis tells his peers that 'they are on their own now' and make a pact to have death come to the oppressor which in this case is the school as an institution and their consensus system. The boys are formed in a dominant ideology which includes a hidden curriculum to conform to the rules and regulations to socialise them into the capitalist values. The hidden curriculum consists of things that pupils learn through their experience of attending school rather than the educational objectives. This theory is clearly shown in the film as the system is shown as the key factor in socialising the boys. Bowles and Gintis reject the claim that capitalist societies are meritocratic but the film shows the claim to be true as those who conform are rewarded by becoming Whips themselves which entitles them to privileges. ...read more.

Conclusion

From a feminist perspective this would show the woman being powerful in the midst of chaos and standing up for their rights. Under the schools system, women are doormats and from the revolution, this woman has broken free. This film presents Marxism, Functionalism and Feminism in an interesting way to question the stability of the system within the school. The film title itself means if society could be different, how would it be? Would it thrive or crumble? It also makes the audience question whether the society we live in is right, is authority due to status a correct way to base our society? We are ruled by dominant ideology and just accept this as the norm but the Crusaders in the film show their rebellion and the audience tends to sympathise with them, however we may not be able to see this in our own society. Perhaps this film could be seen as a warning in that if the system does not make some changes to stop exploiting the working class, then a revolution may take place as it did in the end of 'If...'. It is important to note nonetheless that this film is from a Marxist point of view and therefore will have aimed to encourage sympathy for the Crusaders and their beliefs. ...read more.

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