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Kung Fu (1972)
anti Viet Nam War parables
Obviously, people still enjoy this fine show today. But, I think most fail to appreciate how it related to the time when it was made. Every night, on the news, we would see Americans killing Vietnamese, and vice versa, constant bloody violence, and tragedy. Once a week, we would see an Asian hippie, who hated violence, and sought peace. He was able to over come everything thrown at him, and retain his peaceful center. "The Way Of Violence Has No Mind" was the title of one episode, but was the constant message of the series. To see that, week after week, on network television, in those times, was astounding. There has never been anything else like it.
This Island Earth (1955)
Under appreciated classic of its era
This Island Earth is an under appreciated classic of 50s sci-fi. Mysterious, compelling, with parallels to world events, and a great bug eyed monster! It deserves better than decimation by skewering at the hands of the MST3K crew, who I usually enjoy. See it in its original form to truly appreciate it. Better MST3K should skewer Battlefield Earth!
The Devils (1971)
Enlightenment vs Brutality
Brilliant and brutal, stunning and painful, not an easy film to watch, but easily Russell's best film, and one of the most powerful films ever made, depicting the repression of enlightenment by the powers of orthodoxy, that continues to this day. Don't miss it.
Chac: Dios de la lluvia (1975)
A nuanced, subtle view into an unfamiliar culture and mythos.
I saw Chac when it first came out, and have wanted to see it again ever since. I have now seen the restored film, And I was not disappointed. Chac is an amazing and unique film. Made entirely with non actors, they give a better performance than any professionals could have. Chac is a simple and direct folk tale, but rich with subtleties. The story reminds one of something by B. Traven, the reclusive author of The Treasure Of Sierra Madre and Macario. The setting, the forests of Chiapas, Mexico, reminds one of John Boorman's The Emerald Forest, but is completely lacking in artifice. The direct, but nuanced portrayals of the characters and story is much like Japanese film, such as Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It could only be made by someone who knows and cares for its subjects deeply. It is a setting, culture and mythos unfamiliar to most of us, that is presented in such a way as to be at once mystical, and as ordinary as walking across the street. I highly recommend it.
The restored print looked good, but this is not Hollywood film making, and was made under difficult conditions, to say the least. The only damage I saw as a distraction is a small colored scratch in the center of the screen during a very dark scene with small, lit subjects in the middle of the screen. There are also variations in the color of film stock.