5 Films About School Catastrophes

SHOTS
by Anna Shabashova and Yaroslava Chaltseva
15.09.2020
Massacres and school shootings are a terrible sign of the times, that is reflected in culture. The movie industry is literally fixated on one of the first tragedies of this kind when two teenagers shot classmates at Columbine School. Recollecting 5 noticeable films on this topic.
If…. (1968)

by Lindsay Anderson


The first film of the "British" Anderson trilogy was released in 1968. Then, at the demonstrations, the police shot students. At the same time, it seemed that the end of the old order was near but the terror was still regarded as a way of fighting for freedom, and not the worst kind of mass crime.
School for pupils If.... is a metaphor for archaic institutions of Western civilization, especially characteristic of Great Britain. Here, the "legal" suppression of the student's personality in the process of mastering the school curriculum is supplemented by the age-old tradition of bullying older students over younger ones. In the finale, the school is engulfed in rebellion. Role as leader of the rebellion was Malcolm McDowell's big debut, who soon cemented his reputation as a rebel in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) and went on to work in Anderson's satirical film.
Elephant (2003)

by Gus Van Sant


From school shootings as a metaphor for fixing a new reality. Perhaps Anderson's view of what was happening was too gloomy and precise, so If.... for thirty years actually remained the only picture of its kind. However, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre spawned not only a wave of imitations but essentially a subgenre of cinema. Firstly, because the world where such terrible things happen should have been comprehended. And secondly, because this plot, from the director's cynical point of view, is a good start for the movie.
Van Sant does not want to aestheticize what happened in Columbine (the school has a different name in the film). Attention is scattered between different characters, future school shooters are not immediately noticeable. The camera captures beautiful views of the autumn town, watches the chatting schoolchildren and their parents. Sometimes we see future killers, but we don't know what drives them. The hints scattered by the author are one worse than the other: school bullying, video games, a swastika on TV, legal weapons, even latent homosexuality.
Zero-Day (2002)

by Ben Coccio


A little sooner or later, Columbine films were shot by many filmmakers. But among the most interesting is the independent film by Ben Coccio, who later became the screenwriter of Places Beyond the Pines (2012). Kochchio filmed in a manner close to Dogme-95: real locations in a small town, teenage actors and their real parents in the lead roles. Finally, the entire image was shot with manual cameras, according to the plot, belonging to antiheroes.
This is a video diary of murderers, quite
cold-blooded, despising their victims.
They talk a lot about "justice" and "the
samurai way" and are hardly afraid to
leave this life, which they consider boring.
When Zero-Day was filmed, there were still
no good cameras in phones, vlogs and streaming,
so over time, the film began to look even more relevant than before. The camera lens becomes the sight lens.
Klass (2007)

by Ilmar Raag


Probably the most famous Estonian film, also a distant reflection on the theme of events in America, but filmed in the post-Soviet space. Perhaps that is why it has acquired almost a cult status in Russia. These corridors, desks, sports changing rooms, and other locations that have undoubtedly witnessed the most disgusting scenes. Recognizable situations where the intensity of the drama is brought to the limit, which ends with an unprecedented act of retribution. Today, when post-Soviet schools have also learned about mass shootings, Class may seem like a foresight.
The plot revolves around future killers and present victims. More precisely, the eternal
class outcast and one of his tormentors, in
whom conscience leaped. But the flywheel of collective violence cannot be easily stopped.
A bold film, especially because it depicts the situation while focusing on the issue of honor.
A sequence of commitments, betrayals, humiliation and accidental circumstances leaves the characters with no choice to do otherwise.
We Need to Talk about Kevin (2010)

by Lynne Ramsay


The film about the killer's mother. What does a person feel, a person whose son has murdered a dozen innocent victims in cold blood, including his father and sister? The heroine of Tilda Swinton prefers to carry her burden stoically, visiting her son in prison. She hopes that someday she'll understand what happened. As the film progresses, we learn that from childhood Kevin was a demonic kid who seemed to want nothing but torment his mother – to make her forgive him over and over again.
Maybe this story is about the fact that there are people who are terrible for no reason. Or maybe it's about the distortion of perception – if the heroine cannot or doesn't want to remember why her son is so weird. The truth is that Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller's character are eerily alike here. A simple story that doesn't provide an easy clue, but may provoke nightmares.
 
5 Films About School Catastrophes

SHOTS
by Anna Shabashova
and Yaroslava Chaltseva
15.09.2020

Massacres and school shootings are a terrible sign of the times, that is reflected in culture. The movie industry is literally fixated on one of the first tragedies of this kind when two teenagers shot classmates at Columbine School. Recollecting 5 noticeable films on this topic.
If…. (1968)

by Lindsay Anderson
The first film of the "British" Anderson trilogy was released in 1968. Then, at the demonstrations, the police shot students. At the same time, it seemed that the end of the old order was near but the terror was still regarded as a way of fighting for freedom, and not the worst kind of mass crime.
School for pupils If.... is a metaphor for archaic institutions of Western civilization, especially characteristic of Great Britain. Here, the "legal" suppression of the student's personality in the process of mastering the school curriculum is supplemented by the age-old tradition of bullying older students over younger ones. In the finale, the school is engulfed in rebellion. Role as leader of the rebellion was Malcolm McDowell's big debut, who soon cemented his reputation as a rebel in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) and went on to work in Anderson's satirical film.
Elephant (2003)

by Gus Van Sant
From school shootings as a metaphor for fixing a new reality. Perhaps Anderson's view of what was happening was too gloomy and precise, so If.... for thirty years actually remained the only picture of its kind. However, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre spawned not only a wave of imitations but essentially a subgenre of cinema. Firstly, because the world where such terrible things happen should have been comprehended. And secondly, because this plot, from the director's cynical point of view, is a good start for the movie.
Van Sant does not want to aestheticize what happened in Columbine (the school has a different name in the film). Attention is scattered between different characters, future school shooters are not immediately noticeable. The camera captures beautiful views of the autumn town, watches the chatting schoolchildren and their parents. Sometimes we see future killers, but we don't know what drives them. The hints scattered by the author are one worse than the other: school bullying, video games, a swastika on TV, legal weapons, even latent homosexuality.
Zero-Day (2002)

by Ben Coccio
A little sooner or later, Columbine films were shot by many filmmakers. But among the most interesting is the independent film by Ben Coccio, who later became the screenwriter of Places Beyond the Pines (2012). Kochchio filmed in a manner close to Dogme-95: real locations in a small town, teenage actors and their real parents in the lead roles. Finally, the entire image was shot with manual cameras, according to the plot, belonging to antiheroes.
This is a video diary of murderers, quitecold-blooded, despising their victims. They talk a lot about "justice" and "the samurai way" and are hardly afraid to leave this life, which they consider boring. When Zero-Day was filmed, there were still no good cameras in phones, vlogs and streaming, so over time, the film began to look even more relevant than before. The camera lens becomes the sight lens.
Klass (2007)

by Ilmar Raag
Probably the most famous Estonian film, also a distant reflection on the theme of events in America, but filmed in the post-Soviet space. Perhaps that is why it has acquired almost a cult status in Russia. These corridors, desks, sports changing rooms, and other locations that have undoubtedly witnessed the most disgusting scenes. Recognizable situations where the intensity of the drama is brought to the limit, which ends with an unprecedented act of retribution. Today, when post-Soviet schools have also learned about mass shootings, Class may seem like a foresight.
The plot revolves around future killers and present victims. More precisely, the eternal class outcast and one of his tormentors, in whom conscience leaped. But the flywheel of collective violence cannot be easily stopped. A bold film, especially because it depicts the situation while focusing on the issue of honor. A sequence of commitments, betrayals, humiliation and accidental circumstances leaves the characters with no choice to do otherwise.
We Need to Talk about Kevin (2010)

by Lynne Ramsay
The film about the killer's mother. What does a person feel, a person whose son has murdered a dozen innocent victims in cold blood, including his father and sister? The heroine of Tilda Swinton prefers to carry her burden stoically, visiting her son in prison. She hopes that someday she'll understand what happened. As the film progresses, we learn that from childhood Kevin was a demonic kid who seemed to want nothing but torment his mother – to make her forgive him over and over again.
Maybe this story is about the fact that there are people who are terrible for no reason. Or maybe it's about the distortion of perception – if the heroine cannot or doesn't want to remember why her son is so weird. The truth is that Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller's character are eerily alike here. A simple story that doesn't provide an easy clue, but may provoke nightmares.
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