See a fantastic sixties rock movie you’ve never heard of

Was it was just four summers ago that Britney Spears — then the Toppermost of the Poppermost — provided (arguably) the most frightening moment in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 when, between loud snaps of chewing gum, she suggested we all just trust and support every decision the president makes? Oops. At least Steven Shorter, the conflicted pop idol and government shill at the center of Privilege (on DVD 7/29), has the good sense to submit an invoice for his toadying services.

Peter Watkins’s prescient 1967 proto-mockumentary is set in a “Britain in the near future” — when the state, big business, and rock managers collude to keep the populace happily distracted and fruitful. It plays like an Orwellian This Is Spinal Tap, with melody-makers being exploited to sell everything from surplus apples to church attendance (U2charist, anyone?). Go on and give Privilege a proper gander — and that Coke cup in front of Simon Cowell may never look the same again.

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