Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!
"You never have to jerk off; that's what's nice about Rome."
Though his previous film (The Clowns) had been a relative disappointment for Federico Fellini both critically and with audiences, the early-1970s still represented a period of international ascendancy for the Italian maestro. This outpouring of veneration would reach its zenith with 1973's Amarcord, a series of bawdy episodes depicting Fellini's early years in the provinces during the nascent era of Italian fascism. But just before Amarcord Fellini would first…
"We know nothing of them—they know nothing of us; that's what this film will be."
To begin with, some of what I said regarding Calcutta will also apply to Phantom India (L'Inde fantôme: Reflexions sur un voyage)—since the two films were culled from the same pool of footage. That said, the experiences were in many ways fundamentally different, primarily in the sense that Calcutta's limited scale did not prepare me for the monumentality of Phantom India. At just over six hours…
“Our parties are famous for being first-class funerals.”
A disloyal tabloid journalist desiderates a life as a man of letters but instead further degrades himself by becoming a press agent (shades of Sidney Falco) upon the realization that he is incapable of moral or intellectual progress.
Imagine an utterly despairing foreign language film shot in black and white that runs for nearly three hours and elides classical three-act structure in favor of episodic revelation of character (non)development being released theatrically…
Following a brush with death incurred by acting like a jackass, a mopey fashion photographer stops being bored all the time in favor of grasping at profundity.
Yowza. I began this film weeks ago and had to abort after about ten minutes. It’s not simply that it’s bad—it’s constantly bordering on self-parody. In the end, however, my love for Wim Wenders overcame my better judgment. Do not do as I have done. If (like me) you’re still intrigued by Lou Reed’s name on the cast sheet, let me warn you that he appears onscreen for roughly twenty seconds.
"See I'm with a guy who don't know where Wyoming is. You think you got problems?"
On the 22nd of August in 1972, John Wojtowicz, Salvatore Naturile and (briefly) Robert Westenberg strove to rob a Chase Manhattan bank branch in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Antsy from the onset, Westenberg fled the holdup in its initial stage after seeing a police car drive by. While Wojtowicz had some background working as a teller and Naturile (though barely an adult) was a repeat criminal…
"This isn't Dallas!"
What ended up becoming my favorite film began life in its amoeba form as Greatest Showman-style pap intended as a vehicle for Welsh crooner Tom Jones. This is what United Artists had in mind when they approached Robert Altman to direct the project (then titled The Great Southern Amusement Company) in 1972. Altman had no interest in the script or in country music and had never visited Nashville, but he agreed to make a different film about…