1967: 5 movies

(Last updated 11 January 2015)

Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult
Written and directed by Vilgot Sjöman
Produced by Lena Malmsjö and Göran Lindgren
Music by Bengt Ernryd
Cinematography by Peter Wester
Editing by Wic Kjellin
Starring Lena Nyman, Börje Ahlstedt,
Vilgot Sjöman, and Peter Lindgren

   1967 was certainly a year of sex. Not that it didn't exist in cinema before then, but it was always hinted at, and never before as close-up, detailed, and centerstage. Of course, among the benefits of this change was the honesty about human physicality and relationships. But the downside was the tendency to veer into pornography, or letting sex be the only selling point of a movie without much expression of spirit.
   This selection has all the benefits and none of the downsides. It seems decades ahead of its time because of its clear-headed approach to sex, despite its sexiness. It's really a wacky comedy, as if the Marx Brothers had been reincarnated as a sexy funny and intelligent Swedish girl in the hippie, revolutionary 60s. Lena Nyman's charm is an eternal charm, and so is the fact that the movie satisfies so many areas of human interest. Basically, it's about a young woman's struggle to live a good life through the storm of different forces pulling her in different directions. Politics, war, economic and social inequality, love, and health all intersect seamlessly. There are moments when the movie veers into political documentary mode, then into farce, then into a how-to-be-a-conscientious-person movie, then into how-to-survive-as-a-young-woman-in-a-misogynist-world movie, into a porno, and framing all of this is the director discussing the work that he's trying to make and the challenges he's facing! It's brilliant!
   The title translates from Swedish to "I am curious - a movie in yellow".

Bonnie and Clyde
Directed by Arthur Penn
Written by David Newman, Robert Benton,
and Robert Towne
Produced by Warren Beatty
Music by Charles Strouse
Cinematography by Burnett Guffey
Editing by Dede Allen
Art direction by Dean Tavoularis
Set decor by Raymond Paul
Costumes by Theadora Van Runkle
Starring Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty,
Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard,
Estelle Parsons, and Dub Taylor

   It's rare that a big budget Hollywood movie, especially of the crime/thriller genre, has such emotion exuding from it. But this one does. From the opening scenes, it's a very tender experience of two lost souls trying to trust each other though the world seems intent on tearing them apart. They aren't very educated, economic options to them are limited, and they have the feeling that the banks are giving them an unfair deal, so they start on a life of robbing the robbers, and trying to correct the injustices they find. Will they succeed? Will they stay together? The sensitive direction, the flawless leads, the talented supporting actors, and the superb 1930s details make these endlessly worthwhile questions to explore. The cinematography captures the sprawling dustbowl and complements the melancholy mood of poor drifters.

Belle de jour
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Written by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière
Produced by Raymond Hakim and Robert Hakim
Cinematography by Sacha Vierny
Editing by Louisette Hautecoeur
Production design by Robert Clavel
Set decor by Robert Clavel
Costumes by Hélène Nourry
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli,
Geneviève Page, and Pierre Clémenti

   A man imagined a woman weighing a life of monogamy versus a life of prostitiution and then made this movie. If the same project had been done by any other man the end-product would seem misogynist and pointless. Why not let a woman tell us her thoughts on the matter? But the male director in question is Luis Bunuel who is so full of life and imagination that it's impossible not to be hooked by his fantasy about a woman's fantasies. In the end, it kind of makes sense that a man made it, since there are so many layers that by the end, we aren't sure if it's all a dream of the wife's or a dream of her husband's. There is an air of melancholy and also of secret joyful discovery of the meaning of life and of a woman's vibrant sexuality. Deneuve is beautifully perfect as the sheltered but curious woman. The sets are gorgeously mysterious, the editing shifts seamlessly between dream-life and waking, and the cinematography is crisp enough for the viewer to feel chills, but soft and warm enough to feel the flushing moments of Deneuve's character's new experiences.
   The title translates from French to "Woman of the day".

The Trip
Directed and produced by Roger Corman
Written by Jack Nicholson
Cinematography by Archie R. Dalzell
Editing by Ronald Sinclair
Art direction by Leon Ericksen
Music by Electric Flag
Starring Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern,
and Dennis Hopper

   With an amazing soundtrack, and possibly the most beautiful sex scenes in cinema, this movie is a fun trip with a man who has just ended one romantic relationship and takes LSD to learn about himself and what he should do next. Sometimes nightmarish, sometimes funny, sometimes sexy, the swirling colors and the cutting and splicing between real life and imagination is endlessly entertaining. The viewer may not learn much about herself or himself during the viewing, but we do get a nice glimpse of the times, and it does make us more open and courageous towards our own opportunities for discovery.

Edipo re
Written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by Alfredo Bini
Cinematography by Giuseppe Ruzzolini 
Editing by Nino Baragli
Production design by Luigi Scaccianoce
Set decor by Andrea Fantacci
Costumes by Danilo Donati
Makeup by Giulio Natalucci and Goffredo Rocchetti
Starring Franco Citti, Silvana Mangano,
and Alida Valli

   Beautiful rendition of a classic Greek myth. In this year of sexual discovery and display, Pasolini reminds us that sex is not all fun and games, but is sometimes prone with to problems and trauma. Profoundly psychological and haunting. The angles, the cuts, and the scenery blends ancient times with modern, and makes the whole thing seem eerily present. Several characters try to change their fate, but end up running right into it. Very tragic but still an exemplary movie for its novel grasp of cinematic language. Stunning shots at key dramatic moments!
   The title translates as "King Oedipus".

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