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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A great experimental, bold in form, ideas, and rhetoric. Sometimes the technical aspects are very crude, like the incredibly awful ADR but I don't care. This is a very powerful film and I got very emotional in some scenes and can't really explain why. Nicholas Ray is one of the greatest filmmakers and this another vital and relevant film of his.
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.
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.
My memory has immediately failed me but if I may paraphrase, Ray's last bit of voice over narration goes something like this: all we can do is help each other - that is all we can do to survive. Everything else is vanity.
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.