Herostratus (1967)

This audacious and prescient work left a profound mark on the landscape of late-1960s British cinema, with elements of its visual style evident in the work of Stanley Kubrick and Nicolas Roeg.

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“...right on the frontier of the cinema as we so far know it... The visuals are more beautiful and the content more terrible than anything else I have seen...”
Molly Plowright, Glasgow Herald, January 1968

When a young poet hires a marketing company to turn his suicide into a mass-media spectacle, he finds that his subversive intentions are quickly diluted into a reactionary gesture, and his motivations are revealed to be a desperate attempt to attain celebrity status.

Having made a number of highly-respected short documentary films, Don Levy secured funding from the BFI Production Board to make his first and only feature film, Herostratus (which was also the first feature funded by the BFI).

Seen only in limited screenings upon its release, the film nevertheless made an impact upon those who saw it, filmmakers and critics alike. In a grave echo of the film, both director and star would take their own lives decades after working together: Levy in 1987; Gothard in 1992.

For similarly scathing media satires see Ace in the Hole (1951), Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and Network (1976).

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