1969: 3 movies

posted 2015 February 6

Fellini - Satyricon
Directed by Federico Fellini
Written by Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi,
and Brunello Rondi
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Music by Tod Dockstader, Ilhan Mimaroglu,
Nino Rota, and Andrew Rudin
Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno
Editing by Ruggero Mastroianni
Casting by Enzo Provenzale
Set Decor by Danilo Donati and Luigi Scaccianoce
Costumes by Danilo Donati
Makeup by Rino Carboni
Hair Styles by Luciano Vito
Starring Martin Potter, Hiram Keller,
and Max Born

   I don't know how a movie could be any better than this! It takes the viewer so far away, until you don't know where you are or when you are. You're curious about what lurks in every room, hungry for the foods, lustful for the people, and at the same time sickened and frightened of it all. It's alien and grotesque, and miraculously somehow it's still a reflection of our very own world and times. Pure genius, plus unbelievable conviction by the production team. What a gift! It feels like in every single scene we are treated to: a beautiful poem, thirty beautiful photographs, and a grim polemic against human weakness. And for all this hard work and wealth of beauty, we should be grateful.
   The many random characters that stare at the camera in every scene, gives the movie an odd feeling of timelessness and erasure of our awareness of the camera. In other words, after a while, it makes the viewer feel less like he or she is watching a movie, but travelling with the characters. The music alternates between and combines African folk chants and futuristic edgy space-music. It provides the perfect unobtrusive background, setting the eerie mood, and at slow parts in  the drama, it takes over complementing the images so we never feel a disruption in the exhilarating curiosity.
   The title comes from the title of an ancient Roman novel, which the rest of the movie is also based on.

Easy Rider
Directed by Dennis Hopper
Written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper,
and Terry Southern
Produced by Peter Fonda
Cinematography by László Kovács
Editing by Donn Cambern
Art direction by Jeremy Kay
Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper,
Jack Nicholson, Toni Basil,
and Karen Black

   It feels like a protest song in that it's critical of contemporary life and yet it makes us feel good to watch it. It unites us to a feeling of wandering, discovery, and fellowship with the people of the United States. And it opens our eyes towards new possibilities for ways to exist. Though it is a little weak when it comes to thin and overly symbolic story, it is strong as a beautiful panorama of nature, people, music, and the road. The editing and photography are all about groovy feelings and chance moments of liberation. All five main characters are beautifully portrayed.

Last Summer
Directed by Frank Perry 
Written by Eleanor Perry
Produced by Sidney Beckerman and Alfred W. Crown,
and Emanuel L. Wolf
Music by John Simon
Cinematography by Enrique Bravo and Gerald Hirschfeld
Editing by Sidney Katz and Marion Kraft
Art direction by Peter Dohanos
Costumes by Theoni V. Aldredge
Starring Barbara Hershey, Catherine Burns
Richard Thomas, and Bruce Davison

   Two boys and a girl try to dispel the boredom and fear of their teenage years during a summer in beach town. The cinematography and direction is simple, fable-like, and pure. The emotions ramp up quickly and viscerally. Beautiful performances all around! The ending may not be your favorite or mine, but it certainly is realistic and fitting for the mood progression.

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