Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the televised Shaw play, The Millionairess. Sim shared a beautiful piece of writing, the story of her birth home and her recent re-visit to that house in Richmond. Becky reviewed The Bertrams and The English Reformation and the Puritans, a lecture series. Heather reviewed Eddie Izzard’s unusual audiobook (with unscripted asides), Believe Me. Sim also gave us news about the upcoming mini-series production of Vanity Fair.
I watched Pink Floyd — The Wall when it first came out, as a 20-year-old, and it was a horrible experience for me. I had two clear memories.
- The flowers that turn into vulvas that turn into mouths and devour everything.
- The young man sitting next to me who did the crossed pumping arms thing with the neo-Nazi crowd scenes.
My impression, all these years, has been that The Wall was a misogynistic (a term I’d only recently learned at age 20) film that lured young men into its violent, sexist message.
I’m glad that I re-watched it 35 years later. Now, I see that while the overprotective mother is one archetype, it doesn’t outweigh two other archetypes — both male — the absent father and the cruel schoolmaster. And none of those are really positioned to excuse the behavior of the rock star protagonist who walls himself away from human interaction and turns into something barely human.
Underlying all of that personal narrative, there’s also a societal message about breaking free from the sort of group-think that keeps us in line with norms, even when the norms keep all of us from recognizing the humanity in ourselves and in others.
My husband pointed out that the young man sitting next to me in the theater didn’t get the point of the film any better than I did.
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers, leave them kids alone.
Hey! Teacher, leave those kids alone.
All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.
Another thing that I forgot about this film was how British it is. The above lines are sung by a children’s choir with British accents. We see British sweater vests, the Queen’s photo on the wall, a train station, and much more. Pink Floyd — The Wall was filmed at Pinewood Studios, west of London. Pinewood is most famous for being the home of the James Bond movies.
What is your experience with Pink Floyd — The Wall? My husband hadn’t seen the film, but remembered the scenes that were shown in the MTV video.