Posted on 1/28/14 09:40 PM
VIAGGIO IN ITALIA (VOYAGE TO ITALY) - Italian, 1953 - director Roberto Rossellini.
Never know what you will discover on Turner Classic Movies. Last week I caught this gem on a night they were running some neo-realist films of Italian director Roberto Rossellini. "Voyage to Italy" is from 1953, the period when the legendary director was working with his love and muse, Ingrid Bergman... perhaps you will recall "Stromboli?"
The story is slight but involving... interesting to me as a chance to witness the manners and morals of a British couple vacationing in Italy, in the vicinity of Naples in the early 1950's. Alex Joyce (George Sanders) is a successful businessman, and Katherine (Miss Bergman) is his bored, slightly neurotic wife. The upper-scale couple have come to Italy to claim an inheritance, an estate left them by a beloved uncle. They plan to take possession, put the villa up for sale, and then return to Britain as quickly as possible. Having not spent so much time together in a long time, they realize their marriage is not working as it should. Their nerves start to fray, and even little differences are not easily resolved. Katherine had always wanted children, a topic Alex will not entertain... too busy! They begin to spend time apart during the day, Alex goes off to Capri with old friends he's met - a little flirtation is involved, and Katherine hangs back, touring the local museums in Naples, or just lounging in the Italian sun. To her, the environs recall an old love who knew Italy well, a poet who died, yet just the mention of him seems to drive Alex to a fury. Things deteriorate and a divorce is proposed.
As the film progresses, there are occasions to see the sights around the bay of Naples in the context of the story. Vesuvius looms behind them in many scenes (a symbol of the destruction of their marriage?) and in one very affecting scene, they go to Pompeii with an archeologist friend to witness the pouring of a capture mold.
In an explosion of the volcano in the first century AD, some residents of the ancient city were swallowed so quickly by the rain of volcanic ash, that they were caught in their everyday activities. The accumulated ash hardened and encased them in what might be considered a time capsule. Gradually the organic material of their bodies disappeared, leaving an empty space which they once filled. In the twentieth century, archeologists found that by pouring a plaster material into the spaces when they were found, an exact mold of the deceased victims could be formed, so that when the hardened volcanic material is chipped and swept away, a sort of living statue is revealed... a slave carrying a water jug, a young boy clutching a dog, an infant sleeping in a crib, and so forth.
As fate would have it, the mold Alex and Katherine witness is discovered to be that of a man and a woman lying side by side holding hands. Later they witness a local religious pageant in which children are following and singing behind a icon of the Madonna; Katherine gets swept into the crowd as by a flood (or flow of lava) and she calls out to Alex to save her, when moments before they were not speaking to one another. Events such as these lead the couple to face the possibility that they may have been acting in pettiness and haste. Is a more positive resolution possible?
"Journey to Italy" is remarkable because of the psychological insight that Rossellini brings to the modern relationship. He had just gone through a divorce in order to be with Miss Bergman, and she was in self-exile from Hollywood because her affair with the Italian director was considered a scandal. The film uses mood, symbolic imagery and nuanced dialog to give insight. It tends to avoid the maudlin and melodramatic. Though the movie was a box-office failure, it has since been reassessed, especially by French crtics and New Wave directors like Truffaut, who have labeled it "the first truly modern film." It is on the list of the BFI top fifty motion pictures of all time.
I was a bit put off by watching the Italian language version, because I suspect a voice actor might have been employed for Mr. Sanders, but in the end the experience was a good one for me, in part because the location filming, the panoramas of Naples, Vesuvius and the Pompeiian ruins gave the film an air of captured time... a historicity that accentuated the link between lived time and remembered past.
Posted on 1/21/14 04:57 PM
So how do you make a movie about excess? By being a little excessive I suppose. The story of crooked stockbroker Jordan Belfort's shooting star rise to wealth and a "high life" of drugs, prostitutes, and every sort of reprobation is told by the protagonist himself though a voice over narration, and in some instances by breaking "the fourth wall" and speaking directly through the camera to the theater audience. The language is foul, the motives are disreputable, and pretty much everyone is corrupt in this world of high pressure stock trading of "penny stocks." Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort has never been better, and Jonah Hill, who has become reliably good in everything he does, offers superb support as Belfort's no. 1 "senior vice president," friend and collaborator. The supporting cast is large and first rate across the board.
The things you will see may shock and even disturb you; it seems you can't turn your head in any direction without encountering drugs, naked women, and perversion, but Scorsese never draws back from this darkly humorous world, and the sheer outrageousness of the enterprise is the basis of much of the humor. One particular scene of Belfort trying to make a call from a public phone at the exact moment the effect of some high-octane quaaludes hits him will have you writhing with laughter and hating yourself at the same time for being so effectively manipulated by the shameless slapstick.
Warning: There are no admirable characters here - even the FBI agents trying to bring Belfort down have a certain petty meanness about them. Scorsese seems to be having fun though (perhaps that's why he let's the story play out for over three hours) and if you can allow yourself to withhold moral judgment for that long, you too will have fun. Can we just admit that the pursuit of the "American Dream" is sometimes more about greed than endeavor? One should take The Wolf of Wall Street for what it really is - a cautionary tale about living a life with no boundaries, and Scorsese has told the tale in an entertaining style, in a film that also has no boundaries - but excellence.
Posted on 1/21/14 04:44 PM
Spike Jonze' new film "Her" is probably a movie that will engage everybody on some level. I know a few who have been quite swept away by it, and others who are left wondering "what's the big deal?" But I think it will enter the social consciousness of America in a big way soon because of word of mouth and its unique concept: Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a man challenged by social relationships, develops an intense personal relationship with his new OS (operating system) for which he chooses a female persona. (It will help too that the picture has received an Oscar nomination as best motion picture of the year.)
Set in an indeterminate future in which the concept of artificial intelligence is a given, the OS, once installed, picks her own name, Samantha, and proceeds to grow a personality... one so helpful, personable, and supportive that she completely sweeps Theodore off his feet... the film becoming in essence a love story.
Samantha is voiced by actress Scarlett Johansson.
Other actresses in smaller parts score well also: Rooney Mara is Theodore's estranged wife seeking a divorce (the scene in which they meet to sign the papers is a jewel), and Amy Irving is Amy, a co-worker and friend who like Theodore is seeking the perfect relationship and feeling inadequate to the task. In my opinion, she supplies a heart to this rather inhuman scenario.
But the film belongs to Joaquin Phoenix who is in virtually every scene and who carries the film superbly with an acting tour-de-force. Performing most scenes against an off-screen voice had to be difficult, but he is natural and completely convincing even in some awkward and embarrassing situations that lessor actors might have played for laughs. Phoenix's Theodore is intelligent, sweet, and kind in a way that makes one wonder why he seems so alone and introverted since it seems not to be by choice.
I will not reveal how far the director takes this concept or the amazing turns the plot line takes, but you will not be bored in what is essentially a film about personality, social constructs, and the purpose and meaning of life. The look of the film is part of the appeal... clean and colorful and apparently without squalor or crime, or old age, this is a future world much like paradise without the garden. There are children - one particularly fine scene involves a party for Theodore's four-year old goddaughter(?) - but children do not figure into the relationships we witness. And so Theodore's world has a certain vapidity... which may just be the point Mr. Jonze is trying to make. Maybe it's not about relationships at all, but about a world of technology in which they are quickly becoming obsolete. If that's the case, then I will leave it to you to decide if the lyrical ending holds out some hope in that regard.
Posted on 8/22/13 10:40 AM
"In the Valley... there is a woman living in a basement... who claims to be from the future..." - A key line of dialog from the 2012 movie "Sound of My Voice" illustrates the appeal of this little jewel of independent film-making. The woman mentioned would be Maggie (Brit Marling), leader of a small cult, who seems an unlikely physical threat since she purports to have no immunity to the diseases of our time, who is most often seen with an oxygen tank trailing behind her, and who lives on organically grown fruit from a pristine botanical laboratory in her secret underground residence. Those who meet her, after being restrained, blindfolded, and carried by van to the unknown location, are required to learn an elaborate secret handshake that goes on for over a minute... almost a ritual of initiation.
Brit Marling you will recall as the intriguing lead actress of the phenomenal low budget sci-fi hit "Another Earth," a film which she co-authored. She is back as star and co-author with first time director Zal Batmanglij. They have worked out a riddle movie with a deep psychological appeal. Is Maggie from the future, 2054 to be exact, or is she a huckster and if so, what is her game?
Peter and Lorna (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) are a couple who work their way into the cult with the intent of secretly producing a documentary about the self-proclaimed time traveler and exposing her as a fraud. But they seem a little inept at their project because very little is accomplished before their resolve falters. Both at various times seem to be falling under the rather considerable charismatic allure of the gentle Maggie whose powers of psychological perception leave us wondering constantly if she in fact knows their ruse.
Scenes of the group meetings with Maggie are played with logic and intensity. She puts her followers through activities designed to increase their self-awareness, but which also require a growing dependence on her. Always there is the threat of being denied any further access to her presence. She sometimes plays them one against another. In one particularly harrowing scene, after Peter has swallowed an electronic device in an attempt to smuggle it into the house, the members of the group are each given an apple to eat, and then when Maggie tells them the fruit contains all the poisons of the current age, are required to force vomit as a means of purging the evil. When Peter refuses of necessity, she performs a deep psychologically probe on him that reveals to the group the darkest secrets of his past and reduces him to tears. (Later he tries to convince Lorna that it was all an act, but we, with Lorna, are not so sure.)
In the course of the film, we are introduced through Peter's other work as a substitute teacher to another key character, Abigail, an eccentric child who seems mildly autistic. She interacts poorly with the other children, always insists on wearing a red knit cap, and builds elaborate structures at home with plastic Lego-like assembly pieces. We sense that Peter cares for her more than the other children. The movie rushes to a dramatic climax when Maggie asks Peter to bring the child to her. When he tells her that action would amount to kidnapping and refuses, Maggie insists he do it or else leave the group. Knowing his project would fall through in that case Peter waivers insisting he be told why she wants to meet the child. Maggie says cryptically, "She's my mother."
While perhaps not as totally satisfying an experience as "Another Earth," the mathematical logic of "Sound of My Voice" is just as precise, and the ending may be equally shocking and "right." Brit Marling's performance is again the reason to see the film; it gives the character of Maggie just the right amount of appeal and vague threat. We find ourselves being slowly drawn into her vortex of control but disturbed knowing that it will ultimately involve a surrender of will... but then isn't that the nature of cult personalities?
Posted on 8/02/13 09:40 PM
Mark Wahlberg turns on his energetic charm in the new summer action thriller "2 Guns" directed by Baltasar Kormákur, who also gave him an excellent vehicle in last year's "Contraband." The versatile Mr. Wahlberg is at his comedic best in this "buddy picture" that is doubly graced by the casting of Denzel Washington as his recalcitrant partner. Don't try to figure out the many complexities of plot which pits the DEA, the CIA, Naval intelligence, and a Mexican drug cartel in a scramble for turf and profit. Are you paranoid? Wait until you try to figure out the good guys in this one.
Basically the story involves a bank heist and the resulting pursuit of the missing 43 million dollars. Wahlberg is all energy and charisma in the style he employed early in his career in films like "The Big Hit" and "Three Kings." Mr. Washington has moved interestingly into a variety of roles lately that expand his persona and play on a new realism... he's allowed to look tired and slightly bedraggled while maintaining and inner core of strength and integrity.
Great parts too for the supporting cast which includes Edward James Olmos, James Marsden, the voluptuous Paula Patton and, commanding his every scene, the redoubtable Bill Paxton.
This in an intelligent thriller, with a broad swath of comedic dialog that lifts it out of the commonplace. The action is realistic enough to keep you engaged, and the plot convolutions of who can you trust, make "2 Guns" a puzzler until the end.
Great music and location shooting in the nitty, gritty regions close to the Mexican border. I think I could watch this movie again tomorrow and enjoy it just as much the second time.
Posted on 7/26/13 10:59 AM
Nicholas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives" (2013) is dedicated to Alejandro Jodorovsky and it's easy to see why... it's probably the most incomprehensible (and divisive) film since that director's "El Topo" (1971). I think the Jodorowsky film that kept springing to mind while I watched OGF though was his later "Santa Sangre" (1989) which was once describes as "a strange, violent, but ultimately liberating vision." That would be my assessment of "Only God Forgives" - precisely.
The perplexing vision at hand is set in Thailand, shown here as a neon-lit Hell, which seem to be inhabited by demons, victims and avenging angels. Certainly Julien (Ryan Gosling) is a tormented if not cursed soul, while his older brother Billy (Tom Burke) and American mother Crystal (Kristen Scott Thomas) obviously are damned in their theatrical, florid, and painfully evil personas. Julien and Billy run a Thai boxing club which is a front for a drug operation. The fighters are all young boys and the prostitutes the brothers visit are young also... in fact the action is precipitated when brother Billy rapes and kills a sixteen year old girl apparently because he could not find a fourteen year old.
Officer Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) arrives with his coterie of sharp-dressed Bangkok policemen to dispense justice (without benefit of arrest, court or trail). He allows the girl's father to dispatch the killer-rapist in the first of the movie's trademark scenes of Tarrantino-like mayhem. We're talking super-realistic blood and gore which again may be a tribute to Jodorovsky. Then Inspector Chang, drawing his ever-present Samurai sword from it's sheath cuts off the father's arm as a reminder to not let the same fate happen to his other three daughters.
Soon the boys' demon-mother Crystal arrives on a flight from America and a grinding cycle of murder and revenge begins to unfold. I'll not bore you with the details, since the audience not willing to hop on this ride will probably be just as bored watching the same details of plot play out on the screen...
But let me say, Refn's intentional deliberate pace, his precise editing and use of shadows and color, local atmosphere, suspense and a mesmerizing, pounding, gloriously evocative soundtrack were anything but boring to me.
A few examples: why the numerous shots of Justin's hands? He looks at them, spreads them, coils them into fists - they are even his instruments of sexual entry, and if we can believe his mother, they have an Oedipal history. Likewise for the inserts of lounge performance (by Chang or a young woman in what seems to be a debutantes' ball set in a night club). Their songs take us briefly out of the (slow, deliberate) action and are presented without subtitles for the English audience. Are they the Greek chorus to this tragedy? Are they meant to balance the mayhem? I'm reminded by them of the intense theatrical performance of Roy Orbison's "Crying" which was performed in Spanish in a pivotal scene from David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive." One gets the feeling they may hold the key to unlocking an impenetrable mystery. Or is that hopeful and unfulfilled thinking? Some inserts of amputations and sexual interplay appear to be out of place or perhaps occur only in the mind of one of the character's. These stylistic flourishes kept me engaged (and thus never bored) but I can easily see how those with less investment or tolerance might have had their patience sorely tried... perhaps even to the breaking point.
One fantastic foot chase through the streets of Bangkok is brilliantly choreographed, as is a later fist-fight/Muay Thai confrontation between Officer Chang and Justin. These alone demonstrate that this director know exactly what he's doing.
In the end, I have to come down on the plus side as an admirer of Refn's new opus. This is a film for those who watch movies late at night and are willing to be drawn into them for visceral and psychologically obscure reasons - a state of participation where knowing more is less... a fever dream as we called them in the 60s. In short, a movie to be experienced rather than analyzed.
I will say though that God Only Forgives is not mindless. It is a carefully planned fable and the moral symmetry is flawless. Even in hell justice is served.
Posted on 7/14/13 08:55 AM
From the opening all-out car chase to the ambiguous ending, "Death Weekend" - 1976 (aka "The House by the Lake") is several cuts above the typical home-invasion, "rape and revenge," type of drive-in horror film of which is is a pre-eminent example. I might even compare it to "Straw Dogs," the Peckinpah classic, or more disturbingly Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," a film I found reprehensible for its nihilism.
Produced by Ivan Reitman at the beginning of his career and starring Brenda Vaccaro and Don Stroud (anyone around in the 70s and 80s will know those names), this low-budget Canadian thriller has been very hard to find on DVD, but I understand a complete version is now available for viewing on YouTube.
Vaccaro plays Diane, a "model," who has accepted an invitation to spend the weekend at a remote country estate, ostensibly with lots of other guests, by a lecherous dentist whose moral bankruptcy should have been obvious to her, since Vaccaro plays a pretty savvy girl, but her dire situation only becomes apparent when she arrives at the place to discover he cannot resist pawing her and that there's not another person in sight for ten miles. The sleazy doctor (Chuck Shamata) also places her in a room with large mirrors, one-way mirrors behind which the pervert oral surgeon can lurk and peer, and yes photograph his new friend for his private porno collection.
But the real threat to our heroine comes from a gang of drunken, hooligan pot-heads in a souped-up jalopy whom the couple first encounters on the trip up to the estate. Their leader is Lep (Don Stroud), an arrogant bully. The men hang out the car windows; they jeer and leer, throw beer cans, and make obscene gestures at the couple until our girl Brenda, who happens to be behind the wheel of her companion's hot black Corvette, out-drives them in an extended car chase that would make Quentin Tarrantino proud. She eventually runs them off the road into a small creek and Lep is furious... he rants and raves, abuses his buddies, and vows to find her and secure his revenge.
Meanwhile up at the estate, in the course of the first day, the model had figured out that the dentist is a sleaze-ball and calls the weekend off, but it turns out not to be soon enough as that is the moment that the car-load of reprobate hill-billies arrives having tracked down their prey and the home invasion part of the film begins.
Prepare to squirm with discomfort as the larcenous group proceeds to terrorize the couple and wreck the dentist's fine house, all the while exhibiting a palpable sexual threat not only to the model, but to her male companion too.
How far do they go? How much murder and mayhem develop in the course of this thriller? Well, I don't want to spoil the fun, but I doubt that you will want to miss any of it.
I have a vague recollection of having seen this film back in the decade of its first release, and the drive-in where I worked would have probably booked this one. I always liked Vaccaro for her husky voice and her unusual style. And as for Don Stroud... he was a star in the firmament of B-movies - with his menacing good looks and an intense Brando-esque acting style. "Death Weekend" is only for aficionados of this type of exploitation cinema, but one wonders why it has been neglected through the years... perhaps it was just too good for its type?
Posted on 6/29/13 07:26 PM
"Man of Steel" is a great summer movie and a superb updating of the Superman mythos. I consider it the best of the lot although the older Christopher Reeve film will always have a special place in our memory. But now with Henry Cavill, who fits the physical role perfectly, we have another film to treasure. Director Zach Snyder's kinetic style serves the material well and the supporting cast is first rate. I will not even mention the special effects except to say that they are ubiquitous and state of the art.
A few things about the film that I found appealing: Following the birth of Kal-El (Superman) on the planet Krypton, we see a long shot of a howling dinosaur-like creature against a fantastic and barren landscape under a strange and alien sky. There seem to be multiple moons and one of them floats in fractured segments... we are in a far realm of science fiction and it fills us with a sense of wonder. To me it was like the awe I felt reading the original comics when I was a child. This film is essentially a science-fiction epic and not the film of a comic book.
While the previous Superman movies present the back story of the hero's origin as a prelude to simply fill in his origin, Man of Steel fully recreates the Krypton culture and show us a new and fantastic world. The background of General Zod, who will be Superman's nemesis, is fully fleshed out and with the formidable Michael Shannon in that role, his character achieves its full potential and importance. We know that the final showdown will be cosmic, a clash of worlds between two godlike champions, and we are not disappointed.
Amy Adam's contribution as Lois Lane is essential too. Here she is the earth/alien Clark Kent's discoverer, ally, and perhaps love interest... the chemistry is certainly there, although that element is down-played until an ultimate scene of tremulous affection. This leaves room for subsequent development. One prays for a sequel just as enticing where this relationship will be allowed to bloom.
The series of flashbacks to Superman's youth as Clark Kent, growing up in Kansas, are nicely handled. They give us good psychological insight into the challenges the superhero faces being a "stranger in a strange land." Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are cast as his parents and they give added depth to all these early scenes. Diane Lane, as the elder Mrs. Kent even plays a part in the later part of the movie. She is the anchor that holds Clark to his past and his sanctuary in psychological turmoil.
The action scenes are fantastic and really form the bulk of the film. I especially enjoyed the early scenes on the dying planet of Kal-El's origin... the destruction of the world of Krypton and the death of his parents is an awe-inspiring sequence.
The various scenes on earth where the reluctant Clark is forced by his integrity and sense of moral courage to risk exposing his identity in order to save others in peril are each nicely staged and exciting to watch.
The scenes of the destruction visited on Metropolis by the incursion of General Zod and his troops may seem over the top to some, but remember that Superman and his enemies have incredible power on this planet and their destructive combat is true to the conception of the original comics. You will not doubt that the world is in peril!
Accept this film for what is is... first-flight summer epic entertainment, and relish the added qualities of style and depth... the careful and intricate plotting, the superb cast, the mind-blowing special effects, the Hans Zimmer music (which matches and catches every development, change of mood, character and exposition perfectly), and one really could not ask for a better overall package.
Two personal asides: nice to see the man of steel sporting a Kansas City Royals t-shirt in one scene... it's just "right" for a boy of the prairie, and I also enjoyed the fact that Superman destroys a government spy-drone doing domestic surveillance (on him) at one point. It's a not too subtle comment on our times and fits into the story perfectly... and talk about wish fulfillment!
Posted on 5/26/13 11:53 PM
What has happened with Matthew McConaughey? He's once again an actor worth watching and the movie "Mud" now in circulation is phenomenally good watching and a perfect vehicle for his talents. Two Arkansas boys, Ellis ((Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), pilot a fishing boat to an island in the Mississippi to investigate the rumor of a larger boat lodged there high in a tree (from a previous flood) and they soon discover they're not alone. A fugitive named Mud (McConaughey) is camping out on the island, using the boat as his shelter. He tells the two youngsters cryptically that he's "waiting for a woman," and he persuades them to return with some food.
Revealing more of the plot would only diminish the thrill found here of watching amazing events develop naturally and trying to figure out just where they're going next. (I will add, for Michael Shannon fans, that he's here too in the role of Neckbone's uncle, and once more kicks his every scene into some kind of higher dimension, without ever seeming hammy or out of character.)
Many others in the great cast bring their A-game... Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepherd, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon and Joe Don Baker... in fact a world of interesting characters inhabit the river town where most of the story takes place. Let's credit the director, Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), with a great job juggling so many characters and making each one seem important to an understanding of this coming of age fable.
The theater sold out every seat today, and it's safe to say this film will have "legs." Like a modern day Huck and Tom, the curious tale which develops around these two boys has layers of meaning and is rich in social commentary, and it ultimately delivers an emotional wallop. Treat yourself as soon as possible to a unique cinematic experience.
Posted on 5/13/13 04:13 PM
"La Vallée" was Barbet Schroeder's 1972 follow-up film to "More" and is especially notable because of it's soundtrack music by Pink Floyd, a kind of trance-rock, later released as the album "Obscured by Clouds." It is the story of Vivian (Bulle Ogier), the young wife of a French diplomat, who while shopping alone for tribal artifacts in Papua/New Guinea meets up with Olivier (Michael Gothard) and a small band of (hippie) explorers who claim to be able to put her in contact with providers of the rare plumage of the Bird Of Paradise, which has been hunted to near extinction. Trafficking in the colorful feathers is illegal but a few are known to be still available in remote interior outposts. The hunt for the exotic and beautiful feathers is eventually subsumed into a greater search, when Vivian agrees to accompany the band of free-spirited wanderers into the mountainous interior of the island where the leader of the group, Gatean (Jean-Pierre Kalfon), hopes to find "the valley," a legendary, perhaps nonexistent, paradise from which he claims that, if it has ever been found, no one has ever returned.
Through the days of journeying, there are encounters with remote inhabitants portrayed (in improvised footage) by members of a real New Guinea tribe. Vivian is introduced to experiences of free sex, natural drugs, nature worship, and vague utopian philosophy that seems to involve mainly the shedding of all vestiges of western mores and civilized conduct. The obviously real slaughter of pigs for a collective aboriginal feast is a disturbing scene - it tells us the director was stretching for verisimilitude and gives us an indication that this fable is hardly a fairy tale.
As the group's exotic adventures continue, beautifully photographed by award-winning cinematographer Nestor Almendros, they climb ever higher into the mountains, first surrendering their land rover for horses, and then the horses for an arduous trek on foot. Eventually they are lost in mist on a clouded mountaintop, exhausted and without any remaining food and water. The film ends in a revelation which may be more mystical than real and as the pulsating Pink Floyd music plays us out, one is reminded of the old adage that the journey is sometimes greater than the destination.
I cannot call "La Vallée" classic cinema, but the use of exotic locale, the cinema verité style, and the symbolism of the story make this film a curiosity at least, that now, half a century on, reminds us of a time when turning on and tuning out was considered an act of brave artistic exploration.