Friday night films

Tonight, after a tiring last day of term at Language School, I took myself off to the movies to see Forbidden Lie$, Anna Broinowski’s documentary about Norma Khouri, who wrote the “non-fiction” bestseller Forbidden Love. I really liked this film. It is a snappy, clever documentary in the way the story is told. She uses some techniques I really liked, of playing back interview footage to characters in her story, to get further reactions from them. It was an effective device or symbol for all the onion skin layers that she (Anna Broinowski) thought she was unpeeling, only to learn she was being conned along with everyone else. Go see it. It’s excellent, intriguing film-making, and a very fascinating central character.

I meant to post about the film I saw last week too. I went with two girlfriends to see the Peter  Whitehead film, The Fall. Whitehead is a cult 1960s film-maker, a retrospective of his work has been playing in the city, and I was interested to see this film, which was described in the various publicity as his best.

Hmmm. I felt underwhelmed, I have to say. It starts off nicely vague and undetermined, lots of abstract shots, fast-paced street footage, and some vainly-placed shots of our director looking moody/thoughtful/arty/pensive.  There was definitely some interesting material. It is set in New York against a background of anti-war protests, and student sit-ins at Columbia University.

To start with, as my friend H said, we were happy to indulge him. Hey, it was a Friday night at the end of a long week. We were not a demanding audience. A few shots of cool clothes and images of New York at that time – all makes for a good night at the cinema.  But after one particularly gruesome scene involving an axe (“America’s finest”), a piano and a live bird, during which I covered my eyes, I felt far less generous. It is one thing to make a comment on the hypocrisy of those war-mongering, fear-driven times, it is another to do so using a living creature. Arrogant sod. It was pretty sickening stuff, I thought.

My friends had seen another of his films the week before, which they said had been completely different – lighter, sillier, more playful, more frivolous. Set in London. Carnaby Street.

Moving on… Here are a couple of things we enjoyed laughing about after the film:

Things we learned from this film: that there was some truly dire experimental theatre going on at that time.

Favourite quote: “The hippies are armed!”


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