Nobody went to see Easy Rider (1969) only once. It became one of the rallying-points of the late ’60s, a road picture and a buddy picture, celebrating sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and the freedom of the open road. It did a lot of repeat business while the sweet smell of pot drifted through theaters. Seeing the movie years later is like opening a time capsule. It provides little shocks of recognition, as when you realize they aren’t playing “Don’t Bogart That Joint” for laughs.
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play Captain America and Billy, journeying cross-country on their motorcycles, using a drug deal in Los Angeles to finance a trip to Mardi Gras. The drug is cocaine (sold to a dealer played by rock producer Phil Spector), but their drug of choice is marijuana. Billy gets the giggles around the campfire at night. Captain America, who could handle it better, is cool, quiet, remote, a Christ figure who flies the American flag on his gas tank, his helmet and the back of his leather jacket.” Continue reading
Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism. Continue reading
“When instinctive film artists have passed their chronological niche, they either parody themselves or set out for new fields of action at the risk of complete failure … Clouzot goes down swinging.” – Paul Schrader
Synopsis (MIFF 2015)
After a long career making gripping black-and-white thrillers such as Diabolique and Wages of Fear, Henri-Georges Clouzot changed tack completely in the 1960s, turning his hand instead to colourful avant-garde experimentation. His first project from that period, L’Enfer, was famously never completed; but in 1968, Clouzot managed to make one final film: La Prisonnière.
Bored with her mundane existence, an artist’s wife becomes involved with a gallery owner, whose sadomasochistic fantasies both attract and repel her. As their affair deepens, her grip on reality begins to falter, and the film climaxes with an extended dream sequence – a flurry of spellbindingly colourful psychedelia. Continue reading
This French version of the notorious spy’s life centers less on her romantic escapades, and more on those that reveal the person she actually was during WW I when her German superiors ordered her to seduce the French captain Trintignant so she can steal classified papers from him. Instead she falls in love with him, blows the cover, and ends up convicted of espionage and shot. ~ Sandra Brennan,
All Movie Guide Continue reading
Here’s one of the quintessential films (according to film historians and secondary literature, that is) of the “New German cinema”, the feature debut of Ula Stöckl which is considered one of the first “true” feminist films of German cinema. Continue reading
Master Director Kon Ichikawa’s 1963 classic is considered by many to be one of the finest films ever made in Japan.Kasuo Hasegawa stars as Yukinojo, a talented kabuki actor who specializes in playing female roles (women were not allowed on the stage during the period of the film). But his success on the stage is but a means to an end; his true goal is to visit vengeance upon the three ruthless and powerful men who destroyed his family’s business and drove his parents to commit suicide.Yukinojo’s vengeance will be carefully scripted, and skillfully acted. But the price of admission will be high indeed. Continue reading
In PARTNER, Bernardo Bertolucci conflated his interests in psychoanalysis, nonlinear narrative, and Godard to create a uniquely avant-garde work unlike anything in his ouevre. The film is loosely based on Dostoyevsky’s novel THE DOUBLE and concerns an alienated, puckish young man named Jacob (Pierre Clementi) who confronts his own double. Jacob allows his doppelganger to take over his life; the second Jacob commandeers his predecessor’s theater class in the hopes of creating living theater–as a violent act of social revolution. The idea of students wreaking havoc was not an unfamiliar one in 1968, and Bertolucci refuses to take Jacob’s dangerous intellectual posturing lightly. The second Jacob is a handsome killer, the first a handsome weakling who must find the courage to resist his baser self. Bertolucci matches inspired plot points with arresting images, including visual film references and the bright color schemes that would later become his trademark. Continue reading