The Childhood of a Leader

Dir: Brady Corbet

United States of America (USA)


115 mins


A prodigious ode to Michael Haneke’s White Ribbon (2009), actor Brady Corbet turns his hand to directing with his compelling debut The Childhood of a Leader.

Enhanced by Scott Walker’s stomping orchestral score, this sombre allegory explores the formative years of a future despot who shall not be named but can be easily be inferred. Set in the aftermath of the Great War in France, we meet angelic seven-year old Prescott (played with mature intensity by newcomer Tom Sweet) whose increasingly delinquent behaviour causes a shift of power within the fragile, yet oppressive confines of a house in the French countryside.

Divided into acts that describe Prescott’s various tantrums, this immensely atmospheric film follows the futile attempts at discipline by his constantly distracted parents – his American diplomat father (Liam Cunningham), forever away working on the infamous treaty that preceded World War II, and melancholic German mother (Berenice Bejo) whose isolation draws her to religious fanaticism. All the while, the unsettling possibility of a further fall for Europe and the resultant rise of fascism looms heavily over the film.

Childhood of a Leader is as enigmatic as it is evocative and caused a stir on the film festival circuit. An assured, unusual and stunningly realised debut, it’s positioned Corbet as a name to watch.

Booking Information

020 7377 1407


Release Date

19 August 2016

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