"Make it new." Ray makes something in this one. It plays like a time capsule, broadcasting the slipping of one decade into the next. I found the most arresting element of this experiment to be the black screen on which the footage plays, like watching a TV within a screen to enhance the overall tumult. It talks all at once and not at all. It captures the abstract, the concrete, the slippery nature of reality
Layers of celluloid. The film that was made. Behind the scenes footage. Fragments of the times the film was made in. Pieces of the beginning of the relationship between film teacher and film students. At times a single projection, at others multiple projections clashing and supporting, obscuring and echoing, meshing to form something completely different and new. If nothing else a marvelous look back into the 70s.
This is painful to watch. Nothing sadder than an old hipster. We need to go back further (as Ken Kesey put it, "Farther is a distance, further is a concept, FURTHUR is a bus"). I get terribly nostalgic for Lord Buckley. Haven't watched the whole movie; as I said, painful.
I can't help but think about the female students. It's one thing when you're in Hollywood, and you're making conscious decisions on whether to be nude. It's another thing for students under the sway of a famous director. While one may wish for a time when the student-teacher relationship was less formal, I think that boundaries are necessary.
An exhilarating, indescribable and totally original work by a great master of cinema (JOHNNY GUITAR! , IN A LONELY PLACE!) ! I couldn't take my eyes off of this. Anyway, any film with even one frame of Abbie Hoffman gets at least 3 or 4 stars from me. This one gets 5.
Neither densely layered classical narrative nor non-narrative avant garde, neither a political film not pure autobiography, neither fish not fowl, this gnarly masterpiece hasnt found its ideal critic (even Rosenbaum usually perceptive about Ray's classic 50s films, only betrays his limitations when he talks about it). There's hardly any other film like it for its portrayal of the early 70s.
Well it's certainly "experimental." Some elements of that experiment come off nicely: there are some provocative pairings of images, some good ideas and some funny and poignant moments. But a lot of it is fairly incoherent and tedious. Not to be missed if you have a chance to see it, though.