Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 14. July 21, 1971
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?