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Outlaw Auteur: Joseph Losey

MUBI Special

A self-described “romantic Marxist,” Joseph Losey built a remarkable, globe-trotting oeuvre of sometimes divisive yet consistently adventurous films exploring the darkest and most tangled emotions in human relationships. Through his consistent genre-play and storytelling explorations, his vision remained that of sincere, naked intimacy and timeless political critique.

Whether being blacklisted for his communist politics in Hollywood, or bumming around France for funding, Losey was stridently out of step with his time in the name of challenging it. By the 1960s he found himself in Britain, where he made these four varying explorations of lonely outsiders, ranging from the darkly erotic (“The Servant”) and stirring (“King & Country”) to the elliptical (“Accident”) and thrilling (“The Criminal”). An essential cinematic poet of existence.

The Servant

Joseph Losey United Kingdom, 1963

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Outlaw Auteur: Joseph
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Next in our retrospective of British films from exiled American auteur Joseph Losey is this psychosexual and psycho-social masterpiece. His first of many collaborations with Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, it stars Losey’s frequent muse Dirk Borgarde as a disrupter of British decorum.

King & Country

Joseph Losey United Kingdom, 1964

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Outlaw Auteur: Joseph
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Based off a book deriving from the author’s own experiences as a lawyer during WWI, King & Country is an antiwar film with the battle scenes refreshingly subtracted. The tragic trial of a traumatized youth is at the center of this crucial polemic against the injustices of militaristic nationalism.

Accident

Joseph Losey United Kingdom, 1967

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Outlaw Auteur: Joseph
Losey

Concluding our series dedicated to the dissident auteur Joseph Losey is this Harold Pinter-penned drama chasing the doomed romantic whims of an Oxford professor. Realized in an elliptical flurry of carefully woven images, Accident is a quintessential 1960s view of the many quandaries of love.

The Criminal

Joseph Losey United Kingdom, 1960

The first film in our retrospective dedicated to Joseph Losey, the American expat, blacklisted communist, and poet of wayward souls, is The Criminal. A complexly spun web of suspense and survival in a prison, this is a damning portrait of the cyclical contradictions in capitalist society. Essential.

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