Robert Downey Sr. – Moment to Moment (1975)

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Also known as TWO TONS OF TURQUOISE TO TAOS TONIGHT, and even as JIVE, this is a movie you’ve most likely never seen. Highly personal and at the same time completely illogical, this cacophonous comedy has virtually no semblance of a storyline or plot. The great Elsie Downey, the director’s then-wife and the mother of his children (who are featured prominently throughout), drives the film with her boisterous performance in what may very well be more than 10 roles. Shot and edited piecemeal over a few years, MOMENT TO MOMENT is a collage of everything from staged scenes to home movies, and features a soundtrack by the legendary Jack Nietszche and David Sanborn. No matter what you call it, this film is surely Downey at his most avant-garde and absurd.—Anthology Film Archives. Continue reading

Robert Downey Sr. – Pound (1970)

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There’s something liberating about director Robert Downey’s films, even when by rights they should be put on a leash by their small budgets and settings. Never was the case truer than in POUND, the kind of project that major studios would run a mile from. Long out of circulation, Downey’s film populates a dog pound with different human characters who pace about their cage, uncertain about their future. Some wait in hope for their owners to redeem them, others plot to escape, but most wait to see if they will make it to the end of the day without getting ‘The Needle’. It seems like a cute gimmick to have human characters playing dogs, but Downey has never been one to play by the rules, even if they would provide an interior logic to his story. The dog-human switcheroo isn’t as straightforward as it should be: the first camera angle inside the pound shows us the characters as dogs, the second shows them again as people. But are we still to treat them as ‘dogs’? They have a TV set in their cage; can understand human speech; and are revealed in flashbacks as having human lives outside of the pound. Continue reading