Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Dispersed into the Seventies 1970 - 1972 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 20

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dispersed into the Seventies 1970 - 1972 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 20


The twentieth chapter in "32 Days of Movies"an audiovisual tour through 366 films
(2015 update: included Vimeo embed after the jump)


Dispersed into the Seventies

The sixties had ended. No "seventies" would replace them, at least not in the same sense. In society as in cinema, there was a turn inward, a slowing of that radical escalation, a dimming in the intensity, a muting of common purpose or collective identity. Young filmmakers of the sixties, however disparate their styles or themes, often spoke of one another as fellow travelers on some vague, unknown, but deeply felt common path. Not so much anymore. I hinted at this in Chapter 16, yet for a time the era's explosive energy concealed cinema's divisions and forked paths.

Around 1970, the tide went out, the counterculture, New Left, and youth movement all fragmented, and the hyped-up intensity of the sixties dissipated. Some contend that society never recovered, but for the cinema at least, this turned out to be as strong an era as the previous one, perhaps even stronger.

(continued below, along with NSFW & spoiler warnings)


The films today branch out in different directions, "sharing" only a personalized pursuit of individual concerns and focuses. That in itself is a kind of theme: the political giving way to the personal, the frenzied and dazzled to the calm and reflective, the euphoric and apocalyptic to the gloomy and isolated. A man, absorbed in playing the piano, leaves his friend behind in a traffic jam; another man focuses all his energy on touching a girl's knee; a woman glances down to discover a body, dwarfed by the distance, lying at the bottom of a cold, modernist well.

Lovers regard one another through an opium mist of misunderstanding, a boy lays a friend to rest on the main street of a dead town, and a Droog anticipates a night of the old ultraviolence, making others suffer for his personal pleasure. And then there is a woman, moving silently in the stillness of space, who picks up a portrait and gazes at it questioningly. She feels a flicker of consciousness rising within, and murmurs, "It's me." With a few exceptions (including a sweeping battle scene and a mock-wedding straight out of the sixties), this is a moody, highly individualized collection. A book about seventies filmmakers is called A Cinema of Loneliness - a sobriquet for today's entry if there ever was one.


NSFW: violence 6:35 - 7:00

Spoilers: Also 6:35 - 7:00; this scene is a crucial turning point in the movie, though far too early to be a climax. My guess, though, is that most of you have seen it already. Spoiler appears after the title so you can figure out for yourselves.

I have covered today's films herehere and here.





Visit the Video Gallery for a complete list of the chapters so far.

2 comments:

Shubhajit said...

The rapidly transitioning montage of the various movies you've covered so far, there near the end of the video, was absolutely superb, mind-blowing and worth preserving. In fact, add few more movies and few more scenes for each of the movies, and you've got a jackpot up your sleeves - from there a film festival would be the way to go. Terrific stuff Joel!!!

Joel Bocko said...

Glad you enjoyed the montage, Shubhajit! I'm probably going to put an isolated version of just that on Wonders along with Fixing a Hole this weekend; I already showed it to Allan and he had fun guessing which clips were which from the few frames, haha.