File under SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on October 20, 2014
A documentary that explores the counterculture of San Francisco in the mid-1960’s
The sex is free. The pot is cheap. Everyone can afford the acid.
Peace, love and groovy, mind-altering drugs are the topics at hand in this San Francisco freak-out documentary. It’s a crude but heartfelt time capsule, released in the summer of ’68, just before the Haight Asbury scene turned into one big, unwashed bummer. And even if director Jack O’Connell (THE GREENWICH VILLAGE STORY, SWEDISH FLY GIRLS) may not have made a great movie, he was at the right time, at the right place, and (most important) with the right tripped-out attitude… Much of the movie is random footage of the hippie phenomenon, while a cute, blond, 20-year-old runaway named “Today Malone” provides a (slight) framework to this ragged mess. And a bigger bunch of long-haired, wide-eyed freaks I’ve never seen — crammed shoulder-to-shoulder, celebrating the summer solstice in the Golden Gate Park. God, the stench of patchouli must’ve been nauseating!
Bands blast away, hippie chicks spin in circles, the lightshow begins, and it’s the same old acid haze we’ve come to know and love. Along the way, some interesting tidbits sneak in, including firsthand tales of getting busted, posted notes to runaway children, Ms. Malone unsuccessfully begging passers-by for spare change, a middle-aged nun describing how she’s similar to these “hippie girls,” and a typical hairball asked if he worries about chromosome damage from too much acid (when it’s, obviously, already too late). Of course, what movie about drugs is complete without a few suited “experts” (including San Francisco’s Director of Public Health and the thick-necked Chief of Police) warning about the evils of this new generation’s chemical dependence. But in the long run, this is a refreshingly pro-drug, pro-hippie pic that pushes the joys of LSD when Today doses on camera, and flies off on its mind-altering effects (actually, all they do is sit around a room, rolling their eyes and feeling a peach).
The filmmakers have all the bases covered. They document the oddest niches of Hippiedom, which appeals to the curious. There are plenty of groovy visuals, in case you’re dosed. They even toss in some nude performance art to suck in the T&A crowd. It also features ragamuffin fashion at its worst (not as ratty as today’s Squatter Chic look, but close), plus music by Country Joe and The Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and The Steve Miller Band… Nowadays, this nonsense is impossible to watch without laughing at these naive, burnt-out rebels, and it’s a reality check for folks who think the hippie subculture was exactly like PSYCH-OUT or THE TRIP. Unfortunately, real life was a lot less charismatic than reel life. And whenever one these wide-eyed innocents vows they’ll never conform to The System, I’ll give you odds that nowadays, they’re somewhere in suburbia, selling Amway products and falling asleep to AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS.
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on June 4, 2014
Pixote: a Lei do Mais Fraco (Portuguese pronunciation: [piˈʃɔtʃi a ˈlej du ˈmajʃ ˈfɾaku], Pixote (small child): The Law of the Weakest) is a 1981 Brazilian drama film directed by Hector Babenco. The screenplay was written by Babenco and Jorge Durán, based on the book A infância dos mortos (The Childhood of the Dead Ones) by José Louzeiro.
The plot revolves around Pixote, a young boy who is used as a child criminal in muggings and drug transport.
After a police round up of street children Pixote is sent to a juvenile reformatory (FEBEM). The prison is a hellish school where Pixote uses glue sniffing as a means of emotional escape from the constant threats of abuse and rape.
It soon becomes clear that the young criminals are only pawns in the criminal, sadistic games of the prison guards and their commander.
When a boy dies of physical abuse by the guards, they frame the lover of the transgendered effeminate boy known as Lilica (Jorge Julião), for the murder. This lover then conveniently also dies, with some help from the guards.
Soon after, Pixote, Lilica and her new lover Dito (Gilberto Moura) find an opportunity to flee from the prison. First they stay at the apartment of Cristal (Tony Tornado), a former lover of Lilica, but when tensions arise they go to Rio for a cocaine drug deal; there, however, they get duped by a showgirl.
After some time bumming around the city, Pixote and his friends go to a club for another drug deal. While there, Pixote finds the showgirl that took their drugs and stabs her.
They become pimps for the prostitute Sueli who is definitely past her prime and is possibly ill from a botched abortion. The group conspires to rob her johns, but when Lilica’s lover Dito falls for Sueli, Lillica leaves. The robbery scheme fails when an American john fights back (because he apparently does not understand Portuguese) so they have to shoot him. In the ensuing fight, Pixote accidentally shoots and kills Dito as well.
Pixote tries to gain comfort from Sueli, treating her as a mother figure, but she rejects him. He leaves and is seen walking down a railway line, gun in hand, away from the camera, his figure disappearing in the distance, out of the film’s view.
Film critic Roger Ebert, who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, considers the film a classic, and wrote, “Pixote stands alone in Babenco’s work, a rough, unblinking look at lives no human being should be required to lead. And the eyes of Fernando Ramos da Silva, his doomed young actor, regard us from the screen not in hurt, not in accusation, not in regret — but simply in acceptance of a desolate daily reality.”
Critic Pauline Kael was impressed by its raw, documentary-like quality, and a certain poetic realism. She wrote, “Babenco’s imagery is realistic, but his point of view is shockingly lyrical. South American writers, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, seem to be in perfect, poetic control of madness, and Babenco has some of this gift, too. South American artists have to have it, in order to express the texture of everyday insanity.”
The New York Times film critic, Vincent Canby, liked the neo-realist acting and direction of the drama, and wrote, “[Pixote], the third feature film by the Argentine-born Brazilian director Hector Babenco, is a finely made, uncompromisingly grim movie about the street boys of São Paulo, in particular about Pixote – which, according to the program, translates roughly as Peewee…The performances are almost too good to be true, but Mr. Da Silva and Miss Pera are splendid. Pixote is not for the weak of stomach. A lot of the details are tough to take, but it is neither exploitative nor pretentious. Mr. Babenco shows us rock-bottom, and because he is an artist, he makes us believe it as well all of the possibilities that have been lost.”
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on November 6, 2013
THE MOST DECADENT NIGHTCLUB IN THE WORLD; Mick Jagger was refused entry, Boy George dressed up as a nun and ran the cloakroom while the owner set up secret dates for Prince Andrew and Koo Stark. Here the founder of Blitz nightclub, Steve Strange, reveals
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on January 29, 2013