"The undisciplined mind is the devil’s playground"
Added 15th August 2019
Review by: Martin Tranter
The Devil's Playground
Originally released in 1976
The Devil's Playground
The Devil's Playground features a young Simon Burke as Tom, a seminary student struggling with his nascent sexual yearnings and his divine calling. The seminary is lorded over by a group of Brothers who follow a harsh code of religious discipline, all the while repressing their own desires.
A lyrical, mordantly funny memory film about the age-old struggles of mind, body and spirit.
So many heart-breaking things are done in the name of God.
The Devil's Playground, a semi-autobiographical film from Fred Schepisi also known for Roxanne and The Russia House later on. This was his first full length feature and was to show that the director knew his craft well from his beginnings.
Being a film about puberty, sexuality, coming of age and of desires, it can well be imagined that at the time of its release The Devil's Playground was not far from pushing the boundaries of what was apt for the screen and what was perhaps a little too far, for the time.
Following brothers and priests at a Catholic seminary, especially one 13 year old called Tom played brilliantly by Simon Burke, everyone present within the seminary is expected to not think about sex and their bodies, even though going through puberty they do not have much choice.
The Devil's Playground also shows that the older people present are having their own problems dealing without sex and other vices, such as one imagining swimming with various females all completely naked.
The film has great cinematography and the cast are all solid in their performances with the subject matter being dealt with delicately.
Some viewers may find some scenes uneasy but the scenes are just showing a group of boys growing up together and how they deal with sexual feelings they have never encountered before.
The Devil's Playground offers a thoughtful insight into coming of age and its topics will still create discussion today!
A worthy watch.
THE B CLUB RATING : B b b
Starring: Charles McCallum, John Frawley, Arthur Dignam,
Nick Tate, Peter Cox, Jonathan Hardy, Gerry Duggan, Thomas Keneally, Sheila Florance, Simon Burke
Director: Fred Schepisi
The Devil's Playground, Fred Schepisi's Classic Drama and Debut Film has been remastered and re-release by Artsploitation Films
and is available on VOD and DVD.
The B Club
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