Notable both as one of the UK’s only Palme d’Or-winning films, and the work that catapulted Malcolm McDowell to international stardom, Lindsay Anderson’s if… explores a violent insurrection that takes place at a British public school. As the discipline imposed by the school becomes more and more dramatic, three boys – aided by the mysterious woman known only as ‘The Girl’ – happen upon a supply of automatic weapons, and commit a brutal revolt. if… is a devastating attack on British institutions, being released at the height of the 1968 protests that ignited the world. With a well-armed electorate, this film could show Trump what he has to worry about…
When trying to find films that predicted Trump, it is better to eschew tragedy in favour of farce, and things don’t get much more farcical than in Sidney Lumet’s Network, which eerily seems to have foreseen the rise of modern TV. Peter Finch plays Howard Beale, the long-standing anchor of the UBS Evening News. As a result of declining ratings, he is going to be fired, but when he has a breakdown on-air, threatening suicide, his ratings soar. Soon, Beale is regularly sounding off, and as he becomes more deranged the viewers only increase. Network shows us that it doesn’t matter if people disagree with what you say, only that they keep on watching.
A Separation (2011)
The rise of Trump has been blamed by some on the existence of the ‘echo chamber’, where people only surround themselves with those they agree with. If this is true, it’s not only a problem of the left: those on the right need to get in touch with those they might not see eye-to-eye with. Trump’s recent ‘Muslim ban’ bars citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the USA. Among these countries is Iran, so Trump could do with exploring this country’s cinema, starting with Asghar Farhadi’s masterful A Separation. Dealing with the divorce of a middle-class couple, A Separation shows us that – surprise! – Iranians are no different to the rest of us.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
So, what film could prepare you better for the coming Trump-ocalypse than a two hour action-packed romp through a post-nuclear holocaust wasteland ruled by a malevolent dictator with questionable hair and a objectionable attitude to women? Mad Max: Fury Road shows us what could happen if Trump continues to get his tiny hands all over environmental policy. Already he’s resurrected the Dakota Access pipeline, gagged the National Parks Service, and removed the climate change page on the White House website. Mad Max: Fury Road teaches us that the way to deal with the incoming environmental crisis is to pick up a guitar and start shredding.