Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »
A documentary on the Z Channel, one of the first pay cable stations in the US, and its programming chief, Jerry Harvey. Debuting in 1974, the LA-based channel's eclectic slate of movies ... See full summary »
Vera Carlisle Anderson,
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
The 1970s was an extraordinary time of rebellion, of questioning every accepted idea: political activism, hedonism, protests, the sexual revolution, the women's movement, the civil rights movement, the music revolution, rage and liberation. Every standard by which we set our social and cultural clocks was either turned inside out or thrown away completely and reinvented. For American cinema, the 1970s was an era during which a new generation of filmmakers created work for a new kind of audience--moviegoers who were hungry for stories that reflected their own experiences and who were turning their backs on aged old studio formulas. As a result, emerging filmmakers influenced by foreign directors such as Godard, Kurosawa and Fellini coupled with the social climate and a struggling studio system, converged to create a new kind of moviemaking. Through their choice of material, filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin, ...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I swore I would never allow myself to devolve into to the bogus authority figures of the sixties who told me things were better in the "good old days" the current Australian Prime Minister is a sordid example of just such a mind set.
But I switched over to "A Decade Under the Influence" because I found watching the much-heralded "Sneakers" documentary on the other channel such a dispiriting experience. I found the values expressed by the "Sneakers" interviewees too ugly to accept as reasonable. So materialistic! So devoid of any sense of outrage at a society that can countenance killing someone to steal his very ugly shoes! So lacking in any worthwhile purpose that they can report without distaste the exploitation an audience by haranguing them to hold those shoes above their heads to lock in a sponsorship deal for themselves with a company of cobblers was just too much to continue watching.
"A Decade Under the Influence" depicted a completely different response to the fruit of stupidity, corruption and concupiscence in high (and low) places.
I have noted the change in film-making that accompanied the exposure of America's disastrous foreign policy debacles in Vietnam and so many less reported places in my www.peterhenderson.com.au website. "A Decade Under the Influence" documents the precise moment at which that change took place.
Before the seventies, the armed forces were depicted in American films as an invincible fighting force comprised of decent human beings who transmogrified into conquering heroes on the battlefield. After the seventies they are generally portrayed as a dispirited rabble misled by a bunch of bureaucrat clowns in the Pentagon Before the seventies, the FBI agent and the honest cop tended to be depicted as your friend and protector. After the seventies, the FBI agents were all incompetent and the best a cop could aspire to was to ignore their foolishness and his superior's corruption and uphold justice in his own idiosyncratic manner.
Before the seventies, the archetypical American "little guy", the "average Joe", the Jimmy Stewart type would face down the problems encountered and thereby gain some insight into underlying wisdom of his elected leaders and justice of the "American Way". After the seventies, Kevin Costner usurps that role, but now he is the voice of one crying out in the wilderness for evil to be exposed, or accepting his lot and making out the best he can.
And now those "old time religion" mindsets have been stripped of any honesty and righteousness and portrayed (with a certain amount of justification) as sanctimonious bigotry and self-serving hypocrisy.
"A Decade Under the Influence" tells it like it was. "A Decade Under the Influence" tells it like it is now. It depicts the redemption of the American film industry from the hands of the artistically, morally and intellectually bankrupt studio moguls. It shows the storming of the Hollywood Bastille by the independent film makers who promised to get a disillusioned and tired audience back into the cinemas. The fact that their failures were numerous, and at times disastrous, merely underlines the greatness of their achievement. An achievement reflected in the adventurous and questioning attitudes of the big box office stars such as Clooney, Daman, Affleck etc and the directors and producers who provide the vehicles for their talent.
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