Borstals/restrictive boarding schools -- books, films etc?
March 17, 2008 4:05 AM   Subscribe

Books, films etc about borstals or very restrictive boarding school regimes?
posted by long haired lover from liverpool to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Is this too obvious? Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan? Never read it so I don't know.

Also there is a lot of art around the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. Check out the bottom of the page.

Love Ireland, glad I didn't grow up there.
posted by sully75 at 4:21 AM on March 17, 2008

The daddy of them all - Alan Clarke's Scum Brutal, but brilliant.
posted by Blacksun at 4:26 AM on March 17, 2008

posted by Sparx at 4:27 AM on March 17, 2008

and If....
posted by handybitesize at 4:49 AM on March 17, 2008

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
posted by Leon at 5:35 AM on March 17, 2008

If French is an option, "La puissance d'exister - Manifeste Hédoniste" by Philosopher Michel Onfray has a chilling autobiographical prologue on the author's experiences in a normandy orphanage managed by the Salesian Order.
posted by The Toad at 6:37 AM on March 17, 2008

Is this too obvious? Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan? Never read it so I don't know.

Borstal Boy definitely applies (at least the book).
posted by yerfatma at 6:40 AM on March 17, 2008

I think it comes up in a few of his books, but maybe it's just Boy, but I know my impression of what a boarding school was like was strongly influenced by Roald Dahl, so that I was terrified when my father brought up boarding school as an option for me...
posted by mdn at 6:44 AM on March 17, 2008

For a Canadian perspective you could check out "Hey, Malarek".
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:02 AM on March 17, 2008

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go is a slightly different take on English boarding schools.
posted by rabbitsnake at 7:08 AM on March 17, 2008

Robert Musil, Young Torless.
posted by googly at 7:14 AM on March 17, 2008

Árpád Sopsits, Torzók (Abandoned)
posted by flif at 7:37 AM on March 17, 2008

Sleepers, a memoir about four boys sent to juvenile prison in New York. Brutal.
posted by jacalata at 8:25 AM on March 17, 2008

Ondskan (Evil) is a Swedish movie about a boy who leaves an abusive home to attend an abusive boarding school. Very well done.
posted by cereselle at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2008

George Orwell's essay Such, such were the joys. Boys' weeklies also touches on life at boarding school.
posted by goo at 9:56 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Magdalene Sisters was a fascinating movie which I would recommend.
posted by HotPatatta at 4:56 PM on March 17, 2008

Pedro Almodóvar's La Mala Educacion (Bad Education)
posted by hazel at 10:59 PM on March 17, 2008

Scum reminded me somewhat of Bad Boys (not the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence one!)

Nthing The Magdalene Sisters; Pixote's the most brutal I've ever seen; getting more mainstream, you have stuff like The Dead Poets Society, et al.

There is, of course, a whole genre of angsty schoolboy fiction, which comprises hundreds, if not thousands of titles, from Tom Brown's Schooldays to The Catcher in the Rye to the Harry Potter and Ender's Game series. I'll second Young Törless, although most copies are a stiff translation from a stiffer source, so you might prefer the filmed version, which is equally excellent. All of the Waughs have written in the genre, though my personal favourite is Auberon Waugh's The Foxglove Saga.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on March 18, 2008

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