Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 14. July 21, 1971
We are on the road again with Vanishing Point (Fox), something of the phenomena of the debauched outsider existing in the Nevada and what not where spaces, and on the desert line to SF, chased by the Phredly Kops, and the ESP'd-off Super-soul, a blind disco responsible for beaming Delaney Bonnie & Friends, Big Mama Thornton, Mountain (you name it?) towards the rocketting hero. Through directional anaesthetis of monotony taken as the freedom of the soul through speed, in essence (pace Hagemann) the ingrediant taken for purposes only known to the bitz und pices, who hang around this fresh, beaming desert like the snakes that are poured in slow writhing motion into your lap. No advance notice about this one, an R 18 uncut classification, banned across the river for violence, drug abuse and incitement to crime, and a GP (General Patrons) classification in the States, and coming to us so soon? Having a feeling that a sensa may have dozed off (he's bin fed quite alot of this you know) or only played a few reels, and throught that pill-popping (oral speed?) was non-addictive to freaks anyway. But these aren't freaks, not the sorts one associates with these speedy, dusty yarns, anyway.
Director Richard C. Sara fian, has done a few strange things before, even with a child's charmer, Run Wild, Run Free (mentioned in this journal 1969) and the thriller. Fragment of Fear (which missed me) and taking those Cupid Financiers, with the Quarrier consortium (or under the spiritual guide of loveliness!) resting after their Godard Stones effort, couldn't go anywhere except up and up, into the beyond. What to talk about then? Um, maybe it's a more exciting sort of thing than others of its ilk (makes one eagerly await Monte Hellman's Two-lane Blacktop, for CIC) but for once we don't really give a fuck about its aggressively normal hero, who's only a reject bum, who once was wounded in the Mekong Delta, and turns into a cop who gets busted (tho, heavens, he saves a young lass from pawings from a real randy pig in the back seat) who was a stunt carman, who is now on the move, move, move for no reason at all, except he's go in from there to there, but seems to take the armpit highway into his brain and ends up mowing down cars and Kops, and gets lost, and meets a snaky beardo saint called St Jagger, and witnesses an Oasis of revivalists who don't care for strangers, and has a few flashbacks (including some nauseous beach goo with a girl who was lost in the Pacific, as she wiped-out and the surfboard comes to shore) and who gets poor Super Soul and his mate bashed up by the atypical movie-of-this-type-thuggers, but after firing his revs to the ultimate, vanishes, in a con flag, and his white ego contacts two dozer blades, while a disinterested crowd gaze on, and on. Barry Newman's mono maniacal Kowalski, isn't so much a character but a seedy sort of representation of one. He's wiry and cheeky enough to warrant interest, but he don't use his tongue, I don't think. See it though for chase scenes and rock combined, and those fantastic orange plains, and yellow hills and green people, which aint seemed so heavy since oirisher McFord sucked them dry many moons ago.
What other relevancies are there? Costa-Gavras L'Aveu (The Confession) (Warner Bros) naturally went a week. I cannot, and won't understand how this terrifying work, hundred times more realistic and passionate in treatment than the melodramatoses of Z, could pass everyone by. Did the Lido kill it? No obits by request. Perhaps Father Kerridge didn't think a large lovely audience would be able to read subtitles on a film so historically and personally accurate, that "gives socialism a face" and so put it in the catbox where it dieded. Yves Montand and Mme. Signoret giving outrageous, poised performances in a film more intimate, less frenetic than Z, but more absorbing, and as cinema based on an incident only a few years old, making all the crud on in the city pale into insignificance. I'd like to call it proud and provoking and make some ashamed for not seeing it, but I don't care what anyone would say.
Same with the Strawberry Statement (MGM) (a miracle it lasted more than a week) which has been seen by almost no-one any-where (except Wellington) but our favourite oft-quoten office of bored old men have been at it and at it, removing so much of the dialogue, and one sex scene which parodied the Graduates sublimations, and a fellatio downer on the hero. Though perhaps it does not entirely harm the film as a whole, it apparently makes the hero's position a little clearer, not like the Paula Prentiss/Arkin scene in Catch 22, where she knees him continually in the knackers with obvious affection, which has been entirely removed, only known by those little men in that little greeen building.
Strawberrry has provoked much reaction, and reactionary comment (good), but more serious US reviewers were sympathetic to its statement, and original of same (adapted from Kunen by Horowitz) and dismissing all the other rubbish which are pale and repulsive in comparison, like Getting Straight & RPM and god knows what else. To compare it to the others isn't exactly being argumentative, or honest - or perhaps interpretation has been sealed off from the cells, and what we believe we feel, and what we read we accept. Strawberry is all the more sad, because it is the first film I have acknowledged that for once goes insides a guy's brain and lets him for the first time experience a new system that is obviously beyond his control. Because it is full of honesty, and relevancies, it is more upsetting if you attend a screening where people are boiling with hate, more than perhaps a similar strata who are choking back their plastic bile at that other "thing" down the road. Well if Strawberry is plastic and phoney What is that other "thing" referred to? Strawberry is an awakening and initiation into another place, or collapse into an idealistic state of non-conformity And treated lightly, almost romantically. It is as rosy a case of subliminal reactionary master bation I have seen yet on film. But the emotional emphases are switched towards the inevitable finale, but necessary to show the initiatory-system-change, and so the two persons are plunged into the nightmare raid which is also one of the most frightening of its type. Hagemann's treatment is amazing, because he has completely changed the world through the eyes of his hero, and girlfriend. One scene is example enough: a group of people on improvised insturments sing in the dark streets, watched by a small group of happy old people. The guy and the girl are hesitating in their honesty towards the other. She says she's going to catch a bus. He doesn't care. Next moment she is rising in a yellow-glasses elevator up into the black sky.
This film needs so much careful thinking about. It is exhilarating, and more important, far more original than any other of its type. A pity more younger people aren't allowed in by law of the stupid R 18 certificate. (I know why, but will reserve opinion until clarification later). If the rowers can say "One, two, fuck, you," (which out of all the other language cuts, wasn't) why can't we?
International Film Festival.
Some late festival news due to printing dates - the Auckland Adelaide Inter. Film. Fest (No. 3) is now on, and for those who wanted to go you have missed Eric Rohmer's My Night with Maud, Gaal's The Falcons, Godard's La Chinoise and not much else. For those wishing to thumb up for a few days or weekend, the best fest is still to come. I doubt very much at this stage what will eventually get screened commercially, but if you are in doubt, I'd say risk it. Worth your consideration: Wednesday 20th Le Depart, dir by Jerzy Skolimowski, a brilliant little film, shot by Kurant. I was privileged to see S in Sydney and his new film Deep End, which is magnificent: so if you loved Barrier, Depart is the natural resolution; Thursday, The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan, by Shinoda (His Double Suicide has yet to be seen in Wellington): this, his latest, seems to be a chronicle, like Shinjuku; Friday, Dairy of a Teenager (Denmark) by Finn Karlsson (given a special R 18 for festival audiences only certificate - what a privilege!) on young love, uncut style! Saturday, first screening of Ken Loach's Kes, promises to be one of the fest's finest films; along with If.. Bronco Bullfrog, Performance, finest British film in years; Sunday Salt of the Black Earth (Poland) by Kazimierz Kutz, earthy and, well earthy etc; Sunday (nite) Yoshishige Yoshida's Eros & Massacre (Special R 18 priv.) lots a fun anyway; Monday (26th) Pasolini's Theorem, which no one should miss; in Sydney entire 2000 audience freaked messily out-hope you do, made in '68, it is still an unbelievably brilliant film from one of the world's greatest; Tuesday, The Dreamer director Wolman, Israel. I have been assured that Israeli films are better than Rumanian films. Someone should be; Wednesday's Une Femme Douce from St Robert de Bresson goes about as far as austerity can; though it is visually calmatic, it is pretty challenging stuff; last day, Thursday, is Bo Widerberg's beautiful Adalen '31 concerning strikers at turn of century in Sweden, colour resembling Renoir et al, and no Mozart. One condition this year (and rightly so) is that NO film cut by the Censors would be shown. Along with those mentioned above is Shindo's Libido (already shown on Sunday) and a thing by that movie-martian Franz Zwartjes (in the 16mm Fest prior) given the seal of approval.
Make your way..............................
Terence Stamp as the young man, in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Theorem' one of the most provoking films to be shown in the Adelaide/Auckland Film Festival, Monday July 26th, Stamp is the young guest of a wealthy family in Milan, whose visit becomes more of a visitation, and whose sensual, and sexual magnetism has a profound and finally destructive effect on each and every member of the household.