Directed by Sidney Lumet (1973, rated R, 112 minutes)
The following film notes have been written by the artist George Shaw:
In this psychological crime drama, Sean Connery plays police detective Johnson investigating the murder of a child. The film follows the arrest and interrogation of one of the suspects, during which Johnson violently unravels as he replays his own disturbing life and is taunted by the prisoner. As in many of Sidney Lumet’s films, we see innocence beaten into experience and the injustice of social institutions.
It’s hard to find a darker film than The Offence. I saw it on TV when I was probably too young to watch it, sandwiched between Hammer Horror and Z Cars. The opening sequence of the children leaving school and the search for the missing girl are as commonplace as they are chilling. The only thing we can be sure about in a film like this is that nothing will turn out well.
This screening is part of the artist’s film series Films of Innocence and Experience, with titles selected by George Shaw. All screenings are free and, unless otherwise noted, take place in the Center’s Lecture Hall. Seating is limited.
Film was an important part of my childhood years and continues to be an influence in how I see the world. Films have had an influence in nearly every one of my paintings. For this series, I have selected films from a range of genres, including the kitchen sink tradition of the sixties through to science fiction, crime, horror, and comedy. For me, they present a picture of Britain that is almost autobiographical, and I see in them a landscape that is so familiar, so angry, so disturbing, so eerie, and so funny that it can only be the Britain in which I grew up.
The title of the series is a nod to William Blake’s illustrated book of poetry Songs of Innocence and Experience, which I had the pleasure of viewing during my last trip to the Center. When I was asked to select some of my favorite films to complement the exhibition, I found that many of the themes in the films I chose echoed those within Blake’s poetry: Innocence falling into experience at the hands of the state, of religion, of industry, of economics, of the abuses of power, and of our own fears and anxieties as life slips by.