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WHEN 'JAWS' DEVOURED CINEMA: RISE AND FALL OF THE NEW HOLLYWOOD

15 January - 27 marzo 2015

WHEN 'JAWS' DEVOURED CINEMA: RISE AND FALL OF THE NEW HOLLYWOOD

WHEN THEY WERE KINGS

We are going to start at the end of the story. In 1980, the Hollywood industry, the establishment, launched a sudden attack and ordered an end to the revolt started twelve years earlier when a group of unrepentant young filmmakers seized de facto power in the major studios, riding high off their blockbusters and the counterculture derived from May 1968.

But we were in 1980: Francis Coppola pays the price for one of the most troubled film shootings in history, of Apocalypse Now, with the team stranded for over a year in the Philippines. Neither the Palme d'Or at Cannes nor the critical acclaim could reduce the damage done.

At the same time, Michael Cimino, considered the golden boy of that time after having directed The Deer Hunter and triumphing at the previous year’s Oscars, filmed Heaven's Gate, an equally megalomaniac project: an anti-western for which sets worthy of a Visconti film were built, and tells the story of the slaughter of Jewish immigrants at the hands of landowners in Johnson County, in Wyoming, in 1890. Heaven's Gate, in which Cimino extends the final footage to three and a half hours, was soon to be known as the greatest economic disaster in the history of film, to the extent that it caused the final collapse of United Artist, which was on its last legs due to Coppola’s Vietnamese film. And Cimino's film was destroyed by the producers, who reduced it to 125 minutes in the editing room and premiered a meaningless work.

That is when another shift occurred: Coppola and Cimino begin to purge blame, with their aura of untouchables now lost. But not only them: Peter Bogdanovich had also just experienced his own particular Waterloo when he insisted on distributing They All Laughed, the comedy he filmed with his mistress Dorothy Stratten, until she was brutally murdered by her husband. William Friedkin could not get out of the Central American quagmire of another disastrous and stilted filming, for the Sorcerer, the remake of The Wages of Fear, released the same weekend as Star Wars. Hal Ashby, always on the edge due to his multiple drug use, never recovered from the excesses in the filming with the Rolling Stones of Let's Spend the Night Together. Paul Schrader, who had recently signed the script for Raging Bull, the film that saved Scorsese’s head, emphasised the delusions of his Calvinist dementia: he walked around with a revolver on the set of his remake of Cat People with Nastassja Kinski, another disastrous project.

It was said that the end or ostracism of them all (Brian De Palma escaped, but was hit a decade later, Scorsese, already quoted for his baraka) was due to economic reasons, to their megalomania, their departure from reality softened with all kinds of drugs.

Today we can refine the truth: it is true that Apocalypse Now and Heaven's Gate made alarm bells ring, but not for the dollars squandered, but because they both contain ideological fallout which by that time could not be accepted by the system: one destroys the “American Dream”; the other denounces how the pogroms occurred in the USA before Nazi Germany.

In November 1980, Jimmy Carter had been beaten by Reagan. The celebration of counterculture was cut short. It was then time for the smart kids, who were hardworking and not at all problematic, the Spielbergs and Lucas’. And the shadow of Colonel Kurtz was quickly changed for the poster of Rambo, a favourite of the White House and of its universal destinations. What remains of that generation who could have ruled, is scraping by today shooting counter-current films produced by Lindsay Lohan and crowfunding, featuring porn stars.

José Luis Losa


DIRECTOR: José Luis Losa



SCREENING PROGRAM

15 January:
                     Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)

16 January:                    
 Fat City (John Huston, 1972)

22 January:                    
 Coming home (Hal Ashby, 1978)

23 January:                
     Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet, 1975)

29 January:                    
 The Other (Robert Mulligan, 1972)

30 January:                     
Sorcerer (William Friedkin, 1977)

5 February:                      
Family Plot (Alfred Hitchcock, 1976)

6 February:              
       Saint Jack (Peter Bogdanovich, 1976)

12 February:                    
The Gambler (Karel Reisz, 1974)

13 February:                  
 Sisters (Brian de Palma, 1973)

                                         
When a Stranger Calls (Fred Walton, 1979)

19 February:                  
Conference of the critic and writer Carlos Losilla: “Rise and fall of New Hollywood”.

                                          
Hardcore (Paul Schrader, 1979)

20 February:                  
Convoy (Sam Peckinpah, 1978)

                                         
Fedora (Billy Wilder, 1978)

26 February:                  
The Great White Hope (Martin Ritt, 1970)

27 February:            
      Puzzle of a Downfall Child (Jerry Schatzberg, 1970)

5 March:                         
A New Leaf (Elaine May, 1971)

12 March:                      
The Panic in Needle Park (Jerry Schatzberg, 1971)

13 March:                      
Coffy (Jack Hill, 1973)

                                        
BaadAsssss Cinema (Isaac Julien, 2002)

26 March:                      
Pennies from Heaven (Herbert Ross, 1981)

27 March:                    
  Heaven's Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)


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