The Psychotronic Film Society’s ongoing weekly series of underappreciated and/or marginalized features from around the world continues May 9 at The Sentient Bean with an incredibly rare public viewing of the late, great, British director Alan Clarke’s (“Scum,” “Made In Britain”) little-known 1981 mind-control drama “Psy-Warriors.”
Made for the BBC, this stark, minimalist adaptation of the provocative stage play of the same name by award-winning playwright and director David Leland focuses on a small group of prisoners, jailed on suspicion of being terrorist members of the Irish Republican Army and held in solitary confinement.
Long before the world was shocked by the U.S. government’s abuse of Iraq war prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Clarke’s disturbing film accurately depicted the very real (and often sadistic) behavior used at that time by British military specialists to question and “break” suspected terrorists in hopes of foiling future bombing attacks in the U.K. It’s an unflinching look at the lengths law enforcement will often go to degrade and torture prisoners when those in control believe their actions are morally justified.
Never shown or released in the U.S. and exceedingly rare even in its country of origin, “Psy-Warriors” is remembered by those Brits who saw its original 1981 TV broadcast as a rather shocking and eye-opening indictment of such “enhanced interrogation” techniques. 8 p.m. showtime.