Eight drug addicts are waiting for their connection in a New York apartment belonging to Leach. Jim Dunn, a budding filmmaker, has agreed to pay for the fix if the addicts will allow him to film the connection scene. After the men get their shots, they talk Dunn into trying heroin in order to understand the subject "first hand." He becomes ill and while sleeping, Leach takes an overdose that puts him into a coma. Dunn recovers, with the aid of the connection, and writes off the film as a failure.Written by
The film is credited with helping to launch the Cannes Film Festival's parallel section known as International Critics' Week. In 1961 the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics successfully lobbied to have the film shown at Cannes. The festival, recognizing the importance of the film, gave the critics a week to showcase films beginning the following year in 1962. See more »
This is a very difficult film, austere and hard, but after about ten minutes you can calibrate yourself to its rhythm, which is slow -- or, not so much slow as not fast, with extremely long takes in a one-room setting. The film, which is about a group of jazz musicians waiting for "the connection" (heroin) in an apartment, is essentially a filmed piece of experimental theater; it's very interesting, I think, and valuable for its honest portrayals of blacks (not all of the characters are black, but those who are are allowed to give equal amounts of monologues to the camera). The film itself, which is a product of the beat culture, is an experiment in subtle documentary satire -- the film is a film that's being made by a documentarian and his camera assistant; the documentarian becomes involved in the "film" himself by interacting with the musicians, trying to get them to act naturally for the camera by saying he's one of them, that he "reads" them. (The film is also a kind of Method film in the sense that the performances are strained and melodramatic -- the main character who owns the apartment has a boil that makes him scream at a few points -- and that everything is about the documentarian retaining emotional truth.) As the documentarian gets involved with the group (and after the connection arrives, with a female religious preacher in toe), the film feels almost like a public service announcement. It's a really fascinating document. 9/10
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