Thursday, January 8, 2015

Film Capsule: Richard Sarafin's Vanishing Point (1971)


Vanishing Point (1971)
Directed by Richard Sarafin

A paragon of post-hippie malaise, this existential road movie shifts gears restlessly from high-octane action to contemplative counterculture study under the vague aegis of sociopolitical unrest. Starring Barry Newman as Kowalski, an enigmatic veteran turned disaffected automotive delivery driver who, having encountered further violence and corruption as a race car driver and police officer, takes to the highway in a self-imposed challenge to drive a Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in less than twenty-four hours. Fuelled on equal parts adrenaline and amphetamine, and guided over the airwaves by the spiritual monologues of DJ Super Soul (Cleavon Littte), Kowalski speeds across the Southwest disposing of patrol vehicles just as he disavows the ideological naivety of civilians still beholden to a bygone sense of idealism. An emblem from the final era of practical effects, the film is likewise indicative of a generation transitioning from rebellion to conservatism. (Jan 13, 6:45pm; Jan 14, 9:15pm at Anthology Film Archives’s Sarafin tribute) [The L]

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