A film shoot in Peru goes badly wrong when an actor is killed in a stunt, and the unit wrangler, Kansas, decides to give up film-making and stay on in the village, shacking up with local ...
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John G. Avildsen
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A film shoot in Peru goes badly wrong when an actor is killed in a stunt, and the unit wrangler, Kansas, decides to give up film-making and stay on in the village, shacking up with local prostitute Maria. But his dreams of an unspoiled existence are interrupted when the local priest asks him to help stop the villagers killing each other by re-enacting scenes from the film for real because they don't understand movie fakery... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dennis Hopper conceived the film in the mid-1960s, and wanted Montgomery Clift to play Kansas. Clift died before production began, and Hopper cast himself in the role, prompting BBS Productions to drop the project. See more »
You know, I had fantasies like that, about being beat up. Did you ever have a fantasy about women beating you up? Or don't cowboys have fantasies?
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The movie runs for a full half-hour before the credits roll. See more »
Rarely does an opportunity come like this. I would like to encourage you to share it.
First, you should know that I am not representing this as a "good" movie. At the same time I am putting it on my list of "films you must see."
How can this be?
This thing fails to engage emotionally. It is unlike, say "Blue Velvet" which had both a visceral connection and an ephemerally complex narrative. Each reinforces the other way past the horizons we can see and understand, and you end up with a life altering experience. Most of the films on my "must see" list are like this.
But this is different and the missing factor is "The Other Side of the Wind." That movie is Orson Welles' last project, what he considered his greatest reach and most perfectly conceived. Welles' innovation was the exploration of multiple narrative techniques in the same weave, and then denoting them by distinct visual modes. Sort of a meta-"Peter and the Wolf," but with light.
We'll never see that movie and it is just as well because it is more life altering in the imagination than it ever could be in the real theater experience. While Welles was noodling around with windsides, he engaged every intelligent filmmaker then living, Godard, Huston, Franco and yes, Hopper.
Hopper is an absorber of ideas, not a generator and I believe his sponge absorbed some of that wind and that is what we have here.
There are a few clever notions:
A movie as a re-enactment of a history that is a re-enactment of history of a movie.... all as religion.
A man whose life is a bad movie, the guy behind the faux movie within, portrayed by someone whose life is a bad movie.
A style of revealing that critics bluntly tag "nonlinear," though it is anything but. It just doesn't follow any timeline in a single reality but jumps realities.
Each of this represents a phenomenon I call folding and the three are themselves folded. That it doesn't emotionally engage us is a minor sin. That much of the construction was incompetently done by the drunk portrayed in it is less a sin than a charm.
Now. If you have clever moviewatching skills, you can add a fourth and fifth engine to this. Your own movie, of course. Any serious watcher will do this anyway, with any movie, but there is a seductive socket here for you to enter, much like the testy prostitute Kansas finds.
And of course, on the other side of your film, you have Welles'.
Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.
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