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Classics and discoveries from around the world, thematically programmed with special features, on a streaming service brought to you by the Criterion Collection.
The Decline of Western Civilization
Directed by Penelope Spheeris • 1981 • United States
This riveting, unflinching, and hard-core documentary adeptly captures the spirit of a major cultural phenomenon and features performances by X, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Germs, and Alice Bag Band. Breaking down barriers of expression and social mores, these Los Angeles punks opposed everything, giving birth to an antiestablishment view of the world that permeates today’s music, politics, social attitudes, styles, and trends. Spheeris’s film documents their deliberate reaction to the mass commercialism of music. Still burgeoning at the time, many of the punk bands first seen here have since become legendary.