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Movie Poster of the Week: "Guns"

When Anthology Film Archives ran a retrospective of the films of Robert Kramer last summer they called him “one of the greatest and most committed of all radical American filmmakers.” He is also one of the least known, with none of his 14 features available on DVD in the US. (Glenn Kenny wrote here last month about the French release of his masterpiece Route One/USA.)

Until I saw this superb poster, I had never even heard of Guns, which played at the 1980 New York Film Festival the same year Kramer moved permanently to France (where he was better appreciated and where he passed away in 1999). A film about Angolan gun runners and oil exports—hence the spelling of the title in freight containers—Guns starred Patrick Bauchau in his first acting role in the 13 years since Rohmer’s La collectioneuse (now of course he's barely ever off American TV screens) and Celine and Julie’s Juliet Berto. Beyond this I know very little about the film and there is almost nothing about it online. But in his New York Times review of the film Vincent Canby, with uncharacteristic open-mindedness to avant-garde cinema, wrote that “Mr. Kramer seems incapable of shooting a scene, framing a shot or catching a line of dialogue that isn't loaded with information one usually finds only in the best, the most spare poetry.”

UPDATE: I knew the Guns poster was reminding me of something I’d seen recently:

Rumor has it that this was a kind of sequel to Rivette’s DUELLE (and not only because of the presence of Berto and Karagheuz), probably only in the loosest of ways, like ICE was a sequel to PARIS NOUS APPARTIENT, but in New York (…BELONGS TO US) and with….guns. It’s a nice poster…let’s see the film!
Um, wow Andy. As if this poster and Kramer’s direction weren’t reason enough to see this…
Andy, I didn’t know that, but that is the most amazing coincidence for this reason: I had wanted to do a piece on the films of the great cinematographer William Lubtchansky who died this week, but, I couldn’t find a poster worthy of his memory. The one poster I would have used, and one that popped up every time I asked around for great posters of his films (and which I only didn’t use because I couldn’t find a large enough digital file), was this one for DUELLE. Vachement bizarre!

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