Our Positif correspondent mines the web for cine-fantastic trivia (Friday Edition)

The iconoclastic American films selected by French Positif editor Michel Ciment for the Mavericks and Outsiders series are an intense, uncompromising group. And I’ve only to-date seen one of them. (In my defense, many of these films are difficult to track down, unavailable uncut on DVD outside of import/greymarket.)

I haven’t seen most of these films yet, but I didn’t say that I haven’t heard about them. Word-of-mouth re: these films/filmmakers are certainly in wider distribution than box office or theatrical/video distribution suggests: those who see these films are catalyzed to share their experiences, whether passionately for or against them. Wanda (1970) and David Holzman’s Diary (1967) often referred-to touchstones have been on my “see these (somehow!)” list for years, and I’m starting to feel that tingle of eagerness I felt leading up to the chance to see Rivette’s Out 1 (1971) in New York a few years ago.

I’ve been a-hunting on the Inter-webs and have uncovered some interesting facts and trivia about these films. The sources in some cases quite questionable, but I’m thrilled to share them with you anyway.

Film critic David Thomson, a tremendous fan of Toback’s debut film Fingers (1978), wrote at Salon.com: “Long before people had the idea of making movies from graphic novels, Fingers is like the screen treatment of a comic book that might have been written by Sigmund Freud and illustrated by Lucian Freud.”

If the chance to see a highly regarded dramatic performance from Richard Pryor wasn’t enough to get me to show up for Blue Collar (1978), the filmworld-meets-realworld on-set battle royale between Richard Pryor v. first-time director Paul Schrader v. Harvey Keitel seals the deal. (Rumor has it fist fights were a common occurrence on set and according to Schrader, Pryor punched Keitel and hit Kotto with a chair during filming.) And thank you to IMDB for assuring me that permutations of the f-bomb are used 173 times in this film. (Is that a lot?)

The writer-directors Leonard KastleHoneymoon Killers (1970) — and Barbara LodenWanda (1970)– never directed another feature film. A situation bemoaned by dedicated fans of both works.

Kastle composed opera before directing his sole film. Michel Pérez’s article in Positif engages the role opera in Kastle’s film, and writes prophetically: “It is this total faithfulness to the subject that could cast a shadow over the cinematographic future of this man of the opera.”

Loden, an uncompromising actress and wife of director Elia Kazan, died of cancer before she could put together a second project (continuing to develop other projects up until her death in 1980). While many assumed Wanda was made possible by Kazan’s active support, Loden worked with limited support from her husband, finding its major funder and putting together Wanda on her own with the assistance of filmmaker Nicholas T. Proferes (in-person at Friday 6:15pm screening).

More of these delicious distractions in the days ahead.

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  1. […] the filmlinc blog The latest on what’s happening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, dispatches from the New York Film Festival and exclusive content from Film Comment magazine. « Our Positif correspondent mines the web for cine-fantastic trivia (Friday Edition) […]


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