Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): There's Something Happening Here... 1966 - 1968 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 17

Monday, October 17, 2011

There's Something Happening Here... 1966 - 1968 • "32 Days of Movies" Day 17


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

There's Something Happening Here...

We begin exactly where we left off yesterday, actually a split-second earlier, repeating that gunfire as if reliving the Big Bang for one brief, unexpected moment. And then it's on to the future - a girl tosses an apple in the air, holds it in her hands, and takes a big forbidden bite. With that the world bursts into glorious color and catches fire. Today black-and-white starts to disappear: most of these clips are in color and from now on, just like that, color will be the default for every chapter. This is only the most obvious aspect of gigantic swerve.


When people recall or pay tribue to "the sixties" this is often the period they are remembering, the Summer of Love through May '68 and its aftermath. Dylan drops placards and leaves the scene (as he already had in real life), Dustin leaps atop an older woman and tells off his dad, and Jimi performs cunnilingus on his guitar; Rosemary discovers the truth about her baby and a primate's bone turns into a satellite. There's something happening here alright, and for the first time in five chapters, "here" includes America. After a very dry season, the U.S. returns with full-force to the cinematic scene, a place it will hold until the very last chapter of this series.

There is a borderline spoiler at 4:15 - 4:40. It suggests something most people know about the movie going in and doesn't even give much away at that.

I have covered today's films here, herehere (two of them), and here.




Tomorrow: Shadow of '68
Yesterday: That Total Film


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

4 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

I can't tell you how delighted I am to see Yoshida's homage to Resnais, FAREWELL TO THE SUMMER LIGHT in this lineup! The Czech film DAISIES is another pleasant surprise, but a deserved one. The two Pennebaker's illustrate his pre-eminence at a time of cultural upheaval, and Polanski and Kubrick were major figures at the time. Just two weeks ago the drag queen "Hedda Lettuce" moderated an interactive screening at the Chelsea Cinemas of ROSEMARY'S BABY, which I would have love to attend! Ha! Melville shows up too with one of his greatest films, and the Rohmer and Godard are art house favorites. Then there's THE GRADUATE, which defined a generation. I'm not there with DON'T LOOK BACK, but heck, so many others are!

Shubhajit said...

Another superb compilation. You seem to have special love for Godard - his films continue to be part of your videos at regular intervals :)

Of the ones covered here, I've seen Melville's Le Samourai (I didn't like it as much as most film lovers - though good, I feel its a tad overrated), Graduate (what a delightful movie this was), and Kubrick's masterful 2001: A Space Odyssey (though not a real character, HAL 9000 would still rank as one of the most frightening and unforgettable movie villains).

Eagerly waiting for the 70's :)

Joel Bocko said...

You shouldn't be too surprised by the Daisies selection, given that this is now my fourth piece involving that personal favorite lol!

I'm glad I have The Graduate since I don't have Bonnie and Clyde (an excellent movie, and one I've almost bough a few times but one I've never felt absolutely compelled to own for whatever reason; I think I expressed my thoughts on the matter back under Allan's thread). Though I've stated before that this collection isn't meant to be definite in anyway, the return of American to the film scene wouldn't have felt right without at least one of those movies featured.

Also, the reason I took so long to respond to your comment, to be honest, is that I only JUST saw Farewell to the Summer Light (as in, I literally just finished watching it a few minutes ago!). It was one of my most recent acquirements, and along with a few others in this series I didn't have time to watch it before starting 32 Days of Movies.

However, I vowed to watch every clip before its respective chapter went up (I felt it would be too presumptuous to include them otherwise) and for the most part I've stayed true to that. Only on 3 occasions did I have to catch up with the movie on the day of or after its chapter went up, and ironically all 3 times someone has inadvertently called me on it haha (Shubhajit with 2 noirs, and you today).

Now that I've seen it, I can confirm that the whole film is as gorgeous, often achingly beautiful, as this clip (which leapt out at me while glancing through the movie for an appropriate sample; having now seen the whole thing I can definitely say I still wouldn't choose another moment). I found a few moments too self-consciously arty (like when the lovers dash back and forth on opposite sides of the glass or stop talking to strike poses in the street) but others were as breathtaking as the above moment. I'll have to watch it again to catch all the philosophical undercurrents and often elliptical, enigmatic dialogue (the Resnais connection is clear enough, though I've gone back & forth on him, once he was a top 5 director for me and on a later occasion I reneged, finding Hiroshima overbearingly pretentious, now I think I'm back closer to my original position; Muriel, on the other hand, has always intrigued but never connected with me). But the most important aspect of Farewell, its aesthetic visceral power, came through on first viewing. I also love the idea of the elusive cathedral they pursue, a kind of key to the gulf between West and East, in the world and in their own identities.

(Oh and a minor point, but amusing - what terrible English dubbing of the American actors? I mean really it makes giallos look like they're using direct sound haha...)

I'm glad I closed with it because it would seem after Kubrick's epic space shots, gee what could top 2001 as a closer? Only that sweeping beach scene perhaps, earthbound but just as cosmic.

Joel Bocko said...

Shubhajit, I can see where you're coming from with the Melville, though I like it a lot; it is more of a cold film one admires than a hot film when falls in love with, but I feel Melville's soooo good that admiration transfuses into love (how do you feel about his other films you've seen?). Of course some say the same about Kubrick (cold), but I agree with your HAL assessment; he made my first list of favorite characters a few years ago. My last viewing of the film left me feeling that the HAL episode was by far the strongest in the film, and really its heart and soul. The long moon sequences don't do much for me anymore (though I included part of it here, it's really more for that divine infamous moment of transition, what someone once called the longest jump cut in history!).

Graduate is one film I've probably shifted perspective on more than most others. I first saw it as a teenager and just fell in love with it, as a romantic poignant snapshot of 60s youth & love. I didn't really get why some people called it a comedy. I saw it a few years later and thought all the seduction scenes were hysterical, and wondered how I'd missed the humor the first time. Now it seemed a great balance between deadpan humor and melancholy romanticism. But a few years ago I watched it again and was disappointed for the first time - suddenly it seemed shallow to me, as if Nichols was being a bit glib, using devices that called forth an emotion but weren't actually invested with them. I hope this was an overreaction though (a realization that perhaps some of the pathos I invested in the film was my own) and I go back to loving it as I once did. In fact come to think of it I may have watched it again since and liked it more again. Damn these crossed wires!

One thing's for sure though, Mrs. Robinson is a stone fox.