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April 22 - April 24, 2005

The Death of the Sixties

Early in Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey (1999), Sixties icon Peter Fonda tries to explain the decade to his young girlfriend while she lounges in the bath and he picks his teeth with a dental stick. As he smacks his tongue into his outsized choppers, he intones: “Have you ever dreamed about a place you don’t really recall being to before?... Some place far away, half-remembered when you wake up. When you were there, though, you knew the language, you knew your way around. That was the Sixties.” And then he adds: “No it wasn’t that either. It was just ’66, and early ’67. That’s all it was.”


April 22 (Friday) 7 pm

Gimme Shelter

Directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin
US, 1970, color, 90 min.

This landmark documentary presents a harrowing portrait of the ill-fated Rolling Stones performance at Altamont Speedway in northern California on December 6, 1969. Before an estimated crowd of 300,000 people, the Stones headlined a free concert featuring Tina Turner and the Jefferson Airplane, among others. Concerned about security, the Stones asked members of the Hell's Angels to help maintain order. What began as a flower-power love-in would degenerate into a near riot of frightened, confused young people as the Love Generation, in one swift, cold-blooded clash, became a generation of disillusionment and disappointment.

April 22 (Friday) 9 pm

Performance

Directed by Nicholas Roeg and Donald Cammell
UK , 1970, color, 105 min.
With James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg

Nicholas Roeg’s debut must be credited equally to the writer and co-director of the film, Donald Cammell. While Roeg was responsible for the execution of filming the material, the themes, characters and tone of the film are largely attributable to Cammell’s bold rendering of sex, drugs, image and hippie culture. Roeg and Cammell fused violence, ambiguous sexuality, drug use, and the Chelsea set together through the story of a psychotic gangster who, after a botched hit, takes refuge in the house of a reclusive former rock star (Jagger) and his libidinous, hallucinogen-ingesting roommates. The performances were notoriously lacking in fiction.

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April 23 (Saturday) 7 pm

Maidstone

Directed by Norman Mailer
US, 1970, color, 110 min.
With Norman Mailer, Rip Torn, Beverly Bentley

Norman T. Kingsley (Mailer) is an experimental filmmaker/presidential candidate planning a remake of Buñuel’s Belle de Jour. Under the protection of an elite security force led by his brother (Torn), Kingsley barrels through the production set at a palatial Hamptons villa and much of his cast (including three of Mailer’s ex-wives), spouting existential philosophies of politics and sexuality. Both the film within the film and the film itself are works of excess built on exhausted hippie ideals culminating in the final confrontation between Torn and Mailer, in which the line between fiction and reality is bludgeoned with a hammer.

April 23 (Saturday) 9 pm

Coming Apart

Directed by Milton Moses Ginsberg
US, 1969, b/w, 110 min.
With Rip Torn, Sally Kirkland, Viveca Lindfors

Milton Moses Ginsberg’s first film depicts, through the detailed and varied performance of Rip Torn, a psychiatrist descending into psychosis. All of the action occurs inside one apartment through the viewfinder of a camera the psychiatrist, Joe, has set up to document his interactions and sexual encounters with female visitors. The experience of the film is infused with the knowledge that Joe’s actions are governed by his awareness of the camera. Torn’s performance captures the self-conscious gestures and intonations of a person shaping his own image; precipitating diary films, the camera’s voyeuristic gaze is shared by both audience and subject.

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April 24 (Sunday) 7 pm

Zabriskie Point

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
US, 1969, color, 110 min.
With Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Rod Taylor

Zabriskie Point, Antonioni’s first film set in the United States, reflects his impression of the country during the tumultuous years of the late Sixties. The film chronicles the movement of two disconnected youths as they cross paths and traverse the American desert. The film clearly establishes a tone that rejects authority and materialism, and its over-simplification of the dichotomy between the counterculture and authority/materialism could be seen as problematic. However, Antonioni’s visual rendering of the contrast between imposing urban space and open desert, as well as two fantasy sequences, result in a subtle and poetic impression of the period.

April 24 (Sunday) 9 pm

The Last Movie

Directed by Dennis Hopper
US, 1971, color, 108 min.
With Dennis Hopper, Stella Garcia, Sam Fuller

Following the success of Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper rose stratospherically to Hollywood’s A-list of directors. After successfully capturing the zeitgeist of hippie counterculture, it seemed he could do no wrong. As the sitxites ended, though, so did Hopper’s brief winning streak. After the production of a western being shot in Peru is shut down when one of the cast members is killed, a stuntman decides to stay on location with his prostitute girlfriend and build a hotel in the Andean village. The villagers are deeply affected by the production and decide to make a film of their own with violent consequences. Much to the studio’s dismay, Hopper remained holed up with the footage he shot for months, unable to construct a sensible narrative. Still, the film is flush with ideas about the nature of reality in cinematic representation.

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