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Herostratus (1967)

| Drama | June 1967 (UK)
When Max, a young poet hires a marketing company to turn his suicide-by-jumping into a mass-media spectacle, he finds that his subversive intentions are quickly diluted into a reactionary ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Max
...
Clio
Peter Stephens ...
Farson
Antony Paul ...
Pointer
Mona Chin ...
Sandy
...
Advert Woman
Brigitte St. John ...
Dancer
Malcolm Muggeridge ...
Radio Presenter (voice)
Hilda Marvin
Vivienne Myles
Ines Levy
Charlotte Bremer-Wolff ...
(as Charlotte Wolff)
Max Latimer
Richard Huggett
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Poet (voice)
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Storyline

When Max, a young poet hires a marketing company to turn his suicide-by-jumping into a mass-media spectacle, he finds that his subversive intentions are quickly diluted into a reactionary gesture, and his motivations are revealed as a desperate attempt to seek attention through celebrity. Written by Anonymous

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June 1967 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Det sköna livet  »

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| (Eastmancolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Guide to the Flipside of British Cinema (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
cinematic surrealism, scientifically conceived, that often communicates like music
31 May 2008 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

HEROSTRATUS was, sadly, the only feature-length narrative project realized by the remarkable scientist, visual artist, and filmmaker Don Levy. Though little-known and seldom screened, its influence has been greater than one might think and may be visible in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, PERFORMANCE, and perhaps in the early films of Werner Herzog.

The film is remarkable not only for its very high visual quality (often on the level of the best of Antonioni and Tarkovsky) and for its sometimes innovative relations of sound and image, but also for the attitude and working method of the director: a highly personal and historically deeply rooted concept of surrealism, linked to the scientific method, that shapes the stream of consciousness woven into the narrative into something close to visual music.

I had the opportunity to see this film twice in the 1970's, and thirty years later, images are still vividly present. I'll mention just two: first, the black-clad woman (Ines Levy) lighted from behind, face painted white, carrying a black parasol, seen either slowly stalking out of an alley towards the viewer, or standing on a rooftop, viewed from below, recalling for me drawings by Hans Bellmer. Second, the lengthy hyper-violent sequence in which the protagonist demolishes his paraphernalia-packed apartment. A swaying suspended doll stands out within the jagged rhythms of the editing and will much later in the film be flashed into another key sequence: one example for the rich network of associations that go far beyond story-telling structures. On the soundtrack during the demolition: one of the virulent fugues from Beethoven's MISSA SOLEMNIS.

The film's female lead is named Clio, and CLIO is, in Greek mythology, the muse of history.

HEROSTRATUS does have some flaws, but is by any applicable standards a work of depth and integrity. Had it received more extensive distribution, it might have turned out to be a key film of the late 1960's. It's to be hoped that current plans for a commercial DVD release will soon bear fruit and that this film will receive the (belated) recognition that it richly deserves.


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