The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

The Outsiders: New Hollywood Cinema in the Seventies

September 2, 2011 – October 27, 2011
PFA Theater, UC Berkeley

The New Hollywood of the late 1960s and 1970s brought a wave of startling films to American theaters. It was a period of political and cultural upheaval, and cinema kept pace. Whether graduates of film school (including the “movie brats” Francis Coppola, George Lucas, Brian DePalma, and Martin Scorsese) or of the legendary producer/director Roger Corman’s hands-on “school” of low-budget filmmaking (such as Paul Bartel, Peter Bogdanovich, Monte Hellman, and Dennis Hopper), or of both, this younger generation of filmmakers passionately explored edgy subject matter with a cutting-edge style. And while Andrew Sarris accurately described the results as a cinema of “alienation, anomie, anarchy, and absurdism,” it also exemplified a new kind of realism. Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll ruled, but so did the banality of everyday life. Outsiders themselves, the New Hollywood makers championed rebels and underdogs in open-ended, atmospheric narratives that cast light on the dark side of the American dream. New actors, including Karen Black, Robert DeNiro, and Warren Oates, came to the forefront, embodying misfits and marginal characters.

Our series presents a cross-section of this new wave, focusing on filmmakers who made their first film in this period, often with their own production company. A majority of the filmmakers represented are little known: they made just one, two, or a few films before opportunities closed down for boundary-pushing filmmaking. The series ranges from films by two of the few female filmmakers of the New Hollywood era, Barbara Loden and Elaine May, to the radical reflections of Robert Kramer and Haile Gerima and the biting visions of Hal Ashby and Larry Cohen. It also includes early films by well-known directors Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, and Terrence Malick. They changed the way movies were made.

Kathy Geritz, Film Curator

Friday, September 2, 2011
7:00 p.m. The Heartbreak Kid
Elaine May (U.S., 1972). Archival Print! Charles Grodin and Jeannie Berlin are two Jewish newlyweds whose honeymoon in Miami Beach takes an unexpected turn—thanks to WASP princess Kelly (Cybill Shepherd) —in Elaine May’s satiric comedy. “One of the darkest, funniest visions of Jewish assimilation to emerge from Hollywood” (J. Hoberman). (106 mins)

Friday, September 2, 2011
9:10 p.m. The Landlord
Hal Ashby (U.S., 1970) Beau Bridges plays a casually clueless rich boy who buys a Brooklyn tenement, and finds himself in over his head with both his African American tenants and his blithely racist, cocooned family. The debut film from the director of Harold and Maude. “Feels like a Marx Brothers movie charged up on LSD and left-wing politics” (Salon). (112 mins)

Saturday, September 3, 2011
8:50 p.m. Wanda
Barbara Loden (U.S., 1970). New Preservation Print! A housewife hits a high lonesome road through crumbling factories, two-lane wastelands, and ratty motels in this astounding cinema verité gem. “Wanda is full of unexpected moments and raw atmosphere, never settling for cliché in situation or character” (David Thomson). (102 mins)

Friday, September 9, 2011
7:00 p.m. Cisco Pike
Bill L. Norton (U.S., 1971). A holy 1970s quintuplet—Kris Kristofferson, Karen Black, Gene Hackman, Harry Dean Stanton, and Viva—anchor this atmospheric tale of a former rock star moving through an extremely stoned Los Angeles. “An evocative, rather comprehensive portrait of America on the edge of chaos” (New York Times). (95 mins)

Friday, September 9, 2011
8:55 p.m. Payday
Daryl Duke (U.S., 1972). PFA Collection Print! Rip Torn gives the performance of a lifetime as a country singer on tour through the South, and on the road to ruin. “Payday is a first class independent production” (Variety). (102 mins)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
7:30 p.m. Ice
Robert Kramer (U.S., 1970). Legendary radical filmmaker Kramer turns to sci-fi thriller in this combination of political documentary, Orwellian dystopia, and radical-left guerrilla theory, all set in a locked-down, at-war America. “The most original and significant American narrative film of the late sixties/early seventies” (Jonas Mekas). (135 mins)

Thursday, September 15, 2011
7:00 p.m. Dusty and Sweets McGee
Floyd Mutrux (U.S., 1971). Several “everyday dope fiends” score, hustle, and drop out in this sun-stained, verité ode to the L.A. heroin underground, circa 1971. “It’s the film everyone has been trying to make since: free, fragmentary, bursting with life” (Thom Andersen). (92 mins)

Friday, September 16, 2011
8:45 p.m. Mikey and Nicky
Elaine May (U.S., 1976). Peter Falk and John Cassavetes are best friends and petty gangsters in Philly, now on the run through one long last night. “One of the most innovative, engaging, and insightful films of that turbulent (1970s) era of American moviemaking” (Dave Kehr). (108 mins)

Friday, September 30, 2011
7:00 p.m. Hickey & Boggs
Robert Culp (U.S., 1972). The I Spy duo of Bill Cosby and Robert Culp as down-at-the-heels detectives in neo-noir L.A. “Peckinpah or Siegel couldn’t have done it any more crisply” (Time Out). (111 mins)

Friday, September 30, 2011
9:10 p.m. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Melvin Van Peebles (U.S., 1971) Archival Print! Sweet Sweetback evades the man by hiding out with a string of prostitutes, bikers, and black religious leaders in this radically charged—both politically and aesthetically—film, often credited with inventing blaxploitation. “The first truly revolutionary Black film made” (Huey P. Newton). (97 mins)

Sunday, October 2, 2011
6:00 p.m. Over the Edge
Jonathan Kaplan (U.S., 1979). Charlie Haas in person. With a little help from Matt Dillon, Cheap Trick, and some quaaludes, this definitive teenage wasteland film takes a torch to seventies surburbia. The inspiration for Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit video, and Matt Dillon’s film debut! “Funny, bleak, and startlingly realistic, it was Kurt Cobain’s favorite movie (Village Voice). (94 mins)

Friday, October 7, 2011
7:00 p.m. Loose Ends
David Burton Morris, Victoria Wozniak (U.S., 1975). Two restless friends set off for Denver—or try to—in this humanist paean to working-class dreams and frustrations, one of the first examples of independent American regional cinema. “A remarkably good, level-headed movie about friendship and marriage and the limitations of each” (Vincent Canby). (100 mins)

Friday, October 7, 2011
9:00 p.m. Killer of Sheep
Charles Burnett (U.S., 1977). Charles Burnett’s poetic evocation of working-class Watts, “a great—the greatest—cinematic tone poem of American urban life” (New York). (81 mins)

Saturday, October 8, 2011
6:30 p.m. Badlands
Terrence Malick (U.S., 1973). Archival Print! Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen are two young lovers on the run through the Western plains in Terrence Malick’s atmospheric film debut. “An indisputable masterpiece of American cinema” (Empire Magazine). (94 mins)

Saturday, October 8, 2011
8:25 p.m. Mean Streets
Martin Scorsese (U.S., 1973). Student Pick! Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorcese: three legends of American cinema in one of their earliest collaborations. “In countless ways, right down to the detail of modern TV crime shows, Mean Streets is one of the source points of modern movies” (Roger Ebert). (110 mins)

Thursday, October 20, 2011
7:00 p.m. Bush Mama
Haile Gerima (U.S., 1975). Haile Gerima’s first feature “takes chances and projects an urgent sense of personal necessity…a raw, fragmented study of a Watts welfare mother’s political awakening” (Village Voice). (96 mins)

Saturday, October 22, 2011
8:40 p.m. The Last Picture Show
Peter Bogdanovich (U.S., 1971) New 35mm Print! Based on a Larry McMurtry novel, Bogdanovich’s homage to Hollywood’s golden age trawls through the memories of a fading Texas town. Starring Cloris Leachman, Cybill Shephard, Timothy Bottoms, and Ben Johnson. “Still a masterpiece, whichever way you look at it” (Guardian). (127 mins)

Thursday, October 27, 2011
7:00 p.m. The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
Larry Cohen (U.S., 1978). American history as imagined by the cult director of It’s Alive!—jowly commie-hunter J. Edgar Hoover as you’ve never seen him before. “A definitive post-Watergate exploitation epic, staged as a Brechtian puppet show”(Film Comment). (112 mins)

For more information:

Posted in: News