As Kent drives along California coast, he recollects recent events in his life: his dropping out of college, also leaving behind his establishment-oriented roommate and his square parents. ...
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Inspired by the classic novel by Brazilian cultural icon Jorge Amado, this is the story of a gang of homeless children lead by Pedro Bala. Set in Bahia, the film follows the adventures of ... See full summary »
Ademir Da Silva
As Kent drives along California coast, he recollects recent events in his life: his dropping out of college, also leaving behind his establishment-oriented roommate and his square parents. But above all the suicide of his passive girlfriend Bobbi after he dumped her. He's so filled with guilt he crashes his car, but isn't hurt. He then meets journalist Kristine who is making interviews with college students in America. They sleep together but he wants to move on. He then meets experienced divorcée Julie; they get along well and she finds him a job and a place to live. But Kent's search for a meaning in his life urges him to move on once again. Written by
Here's the sort of small, thoughtful film that's disappeared between the mass market cracks. Unlikely to ever be released on DVD at this point, it's probably doomed to fade as the few remaining VHS copies of it disintegrate with time. And that's a shame, because it's actually one of the better films about the 1960s, one that deserves to be remembered.
It's a simple enough story: Kent, a typical young man of that time, sets out on the road, confused by the turmoil of his world, as well as by his own inner turmoil. He's looking for answers, for something that makes sense, and doesn't know where or how to find it. He needs to mature, and he knows it, but he still lacks the self-knowledge & direction to truly commit himself to something. So in that regard, it's not just a 1960s film, but one for any time.
Many films about the 1960s, even good ones, have a tendency to overdo things. Films from that time were usually made by outsiders looking in -- and however sympathetic & well-intentioned, they were still outsiders. More recent films too often depend on the same handful of superficial media clichés & basic 20-song soundtrack, laying on the grooviness with a trowel, striving for the look but completely missing the substance.
"Changes" is something different. The countercultural elements are both sparse & realistic, fully integrated into the story. The hippie friend comes across as a real person, not someone playacting -- or overacting. And the flashbacks with Kent's father (Jack Albertson) are convincingly individual, informed by the generation gap but not having to embody its immense burden. These are people first, living in their times, not awkward symbols masquerading as human beings.
Kent's temporary relationship with a slightly older, more worldly-wise young woman brings his life into focus. Again, this is treated as a love story between individuals, touched by the counterculture of the time, but not fully involved in it. This was the case for millions of young men & women then -- not everyone wore tie-dyed clothes & painted his or her face while grappling with some very big, very difficult questions. Sadly, the fashions are remembered (and all too easily ridiculed), while the questions are neglected & forgotten.
If there's anything that might keep this film alive, it's the soundtrack by Tim Buckley. As listeners not even born until long after Buckley's untimely death discover his work, there may be a new audience for this sensitive, moving film. Yes, it has some flaws & is far from perfect -- but it's an honest, intelligent, moving effort. At the very least, I intend to transfer it from VHS to homemade DVD as soon as possible. At the same time, I still hope for an official DVD release. If those times are to be remembered clearly & truthfully, then works such as this must be preserved. Most highly recommended!
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