A decade after quitting Hollywood, legendary Nicholas Ray accepted a teaching job at Harpur College in Binghamton, NY. There, with the collaboration of his students, he began a project unlike anything he had done before…
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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.
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.
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.
This rewards persistence. It is strange, and wonderful, blurring the borders of reality. It asks lots of questions of us, and the message at the heart of it is positive and upbeat, despite much strangeness. A lovely appropriate swan song. Very much of its era, but strong for that.
A film very much of its time,avant-garde, political and stretching social mores.Filmed on Super 8,16mm,35 mm and video.The film was made by Ray and a group of students he taught and lived with, in a kind of film making commune at Binghamton university,in the 1970's.Not an easy watch,but one worth doing.If only to see that the old maverick had lost none of his fight. In fact,this rebel certainly still had a "cause"!
Interminable cracked genius. Like one of those collaged Frank Zappa albums w/ drop-out idealists, lost children and strung-out users. Searing moments and a few of the most beautiful last lines in cinema. Increasingly gratifying as more sleep deprived.