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23 days to watch
The Unusual Subjects
4.1
32 Ratings

Escapes

Directed by Michael Almereyda
United States, 2016
Documentary
  • English
  • English
The Unusual Subjects

Synopsis

Escapes blazes a wild path through mid-20th-century Hollywood via the uncanny experiences of Hampton Fancher–flamenco dancer, actor, and the unlikely producer and screenwriter of the landmark sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Our take

The uncanny life of an unsung Hollywood legend is unfurled in this intimate documentary by Michael Almereyda (Marjorie Prime). Anecdotes ranging from past romances and the inception of Blade Runner to the world flamenco are indelibly matched with tangential cinematic scenes rephrased as memories.

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The title refers not only to the film’s protagonist — the writer, actor, director, flamenco dancer, and runaway Hampton Fancher — but also to Almereyda’s formal decision to exit the prison of documentary objectivity. Subjectivity — the “deranged private world inhabited by one person,” as Philip K. Dick puts it — is the deepest preoccupation of his film.
April 13, 2018
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Mr. Fancher’s movie love and way of spinning a yarn to its near-breaking point — one detour opens onto another — dovetail nicely with the cinephilia and playfulness that characterize Mr. Almereyda’s movies (“Experimenter”). He folds plenty of tangy bits into “Escapes” — Mr. Fancher palled around with fame and was romantically involved with Sue Lyon and Barbara Hershey — but the movie is more essayistic gloss than definitive biography. It’s a liberating take.
July 25, 2017
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The film understands cinema as a series of nesting neuroses, in which our desires are rechanneled in legends that render the former puny by comparison, though our longings are the ultimate manna of said legend-hood. Cinema, then, is transcendent as well as entrapping. Fancher recalls his life and realizes that it has been governed by fear, which may flabbergast audiences. Projected on a vast, myth-enabling screen, Fancher appears fearless.
July 23, 2017
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