Private Road (1971)

The youthful struggle for social, personal and artistic freedom is depicted in the lodgings of bohemian London, the suburbs of Surrey, and the wilds of Scotland.

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“It’s especially fascinating as a rare starring vehicle for Bruce Robinson, a magnetic young actor who [later] wrote and directed the cult hit Withnail & I.”
Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital, 2010

Exploring similar themes as his earlier Bronco Bullfrog (1969), Barney Platts-Mills’ second feature film, Private Road, moved the action away from the high-rises of East London’s estates to the plush homes and rural getaways of the comfortably-off, trading gritty monochrome for ravishing colour along the way.

After finishing his first novel, young author Peter (Bruce Robinson) takes up with Anne (Susan Penhaligon), the sugar-sweet receptionist from his agent’s office. In defiance of the attitudes of their elders, the couple experiment with sex and drugs and foster an alternative lifestyle. However, reality soon bites, and they find themselves having to consider their long-term future. The film acutely explores the youthful ideals which enable us to believe that we will never make the same mistakes as our parents.

Young men also turned on, tuned in and dropped out in Herostratus (1967), the first film made by the BFI Experimental Film Board, and Nicolas Roeg’s Performance (1970).

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