|Index||7 reviews in total|
Lion's Love is a pseudo-documentary with no concrete direction. It asks us to be voyeurs of three people who define cavalierism.. An oddly fascinating look at late 60's America via the very french Varda. Hard to recommend, but cineastes of new-wave/non-linear film will love it. Worth noting for a cameo by James Douglas Morrison as a theater patron.
Agnes Varda directed this fascinating cinema verte like fictional film in 1969. The film traces Gerome Ragnai and James Rado (the composers of HAIR) and Andy Warhol actress Viva as they try to break into the Hollywood lifestyle. American feminist icon filmmaker Shirley Clarke is featured in an extended role, also playing a fictionalized version of herself. Clarke is attempting to get studio financing for a film project that seems to be consciously satirizing the struggles Varda must have had in getting this film made. This film is funny, beautifully shot and imaginatively edited. It is a must see for fans of Varda and the French New Wave.
If we were to debate about French filmmakers who have made successful films in Hollywood,it would appear that Agnès Varda is certainly not the first person from France who made a film in Hollywood.There were many people before her including great French master Jean Renoir who made films which had favorable outcome in Hollywood.What is important to note is that her films based in Hollywood gained more popularity as she and her husband Jacques Demy were close to American cultural icon Andy Warhol.This is also the case with her film "Lions Love" in which she makes attempts to understand working style of Hollywood people.The highlight of the film is her quest to fathom how American films get their finances in a tough jungle called Hollywood.Lions Love is also a tale of reflections of a French lady on American events of the time as there is a significant mention of the assassination of American president John.F.Kennedy.Those who are looking for traces of feminism found in other films by Agnès Varda would be highly disappointed as Lions Love is very much a light work in terms of its filming style and theme.
I checked this movie out as it sounded interesting as it starred Warhol
discovery Viva and the writers of the musical "Hair" and was filmed by
Agnes Varda who made "Cleo from 5 to 7". I was looking forward to
seeing this but was so disappointed because it is a terrible and
amateurish film with unappealing characters.
Rado and Ragni should never have stepped in front of a camera. (Instead they should have been busy writing a new hit musical.) It is now clear to me why Viva never became a movie star and why this movie now is forgotten and unseen. Shirley Clark is the only interesting person in it and I wonder what this movie would have been without the Kennedy assassination.
It's ironic that the film studio people in the film talk about having the final cut of a film project and how the Clarke's agent wants her to retain creative control over her film. This film HAD been better with a lot of editing, cutting out all of Viva, Rado and Ragni (but the there wouldn't have been anything left!).
What could have been a cult documentary of the scene in 1969 California is just an incredibly dull because of Varda's choice of lead characters. Just because these people had been involved in some cool 60's projects did not mean that they were worthy of being subjects of a documentary. The only funny part is when they discuss pregnancy and how it would be good to speed up the process.
I love Agnes Varda. I love Viva. I love California. I love the 60s. And still I hated this movie. It is proof that Varda does not do well without a plot structure (few directors do). There is no plot to this film and its boring, boring, boring. It's a weekend in the life of Viva and the creators of Hair the weekend of RFK's assasination. A slice of real-life ala Warhol. (Agnes went so far as to steal Viva away, a real Warhol superstar. Only 3 saving graces: funny Shirley Clarke; some beautiful imagery with Viva and a clock and one scene w/ Varda herself. Otherwise, skip it even if you are a Varda or Viva fan. Re-watch Cleo or Vagabond instead.
Agnes Varda smiled at me! The director was present at the showing of this film (with her 1982 short Ulysse shown beforehand), and she described the historical background of Lions Love (about two feet from my face!). This was her only film made in America, and it's very much influenced by the cinematic court of Andy Warhol. Lions Love stars Warhol model Viva and two men, James Rado and Gerome Ragni (the creators of the musical Hair) as a spiritually linked threesome living in L.A. Filmmaker Shirley Clarke crashes at their apartment, having come to L.A. to meet with producers. To sum the film up, it's late '60s garbage. Sorry to say it, but it is. Mostly improvised, with a lot of goofy, goofy scenes. Warhol and his cronies are almost completely forgotten, at least the cinematic section of it. I would guess that this was just one of a hundred films made in a similar style during this period. My only point of reference is the 1972 film Ciao! Manhattan, which depicts the toppling of Warhol's most famous protege, Edie Sedgwick. That film, I think, is a masterpiece, despite of or because of its cinema verite insanity. Lions Love is much less interesting, and it never reaches an emotional level like Ciao! Manhattan does. Still, Lions Love isn't worthless. It may be garbage, but it is amusing garbage. This is probably due to my youthful interest surrounding the late 1960s, and most who lived through the era would probably find the film insufferable. And it does find a structural anchor, if not an emotional one, in the assassination of Robert Kennedy, as well as the attempted murder of Andy Warhol. If the film depicts the events factually (and, from what Madame Varda seemed to imply, these things happened as they were making the film), those two events happened on the same day. 6/10.
The movie is totally a waste of precious time unless you are a great fan of any of the actors involved or like to see news clips of the 60's in California. The best part is the first part of the movie showing a scene out of a play "the Beard" with Billie Dixon and Richard Bright, but that is just about all you are going to see of Richard Bright. There seems to be no structure, no set script. I think anybody could have done a better job with other wanna be actors and a camcorder. I cant believe they wasted so much time on a scene where they were too lazy to get out of bed to order or make coffee. At the end you will be slapping yourself in the face either to wake yourself up or to scold yourself for the fact that you watched the whole thing from beginning to end.
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