Sunday, October 11, 2015

Film Capsule: Lawrence Schiller and L.M. Kit Carson's The American Dreamer (1971)


The American Dreamer (1971)
Directed by Lawrence Schiller and L.M. Kit Carson

Filmed during the editing of his infamously outré Hollywood disaster The Last Movie, this captivating docu-fiction portrait of director Dennis Hopper at the peak of his drug-fueled, quasi-mystic phase of ass-backward fame and fortune is both companion piece to a ceaselessly fascinating film and a standalone revelation all its own. Capturing Hopper at work and play in the New Mexico desert, the film consists primarily of stream-of-conscience insights and inanities from one of cinema’s great charlatans, here elevating his persona into the pantheon of acid-fried geniuses. Episodes of the director waxing philosophical on the artistic process (at one point off-handedly comparing his sure-to-be-misunderstood latest to The Magnificent Ambersons) sit side-by-side with orgiastic displays of group foreplay and creatively cleansing experiments in public nudity. Hopper’s natural charisma and slyly self-reflexive nature turn what could be a mess of pretension into a revealing mediation on creativity and the precariousness of inspiration. (October 11, 5pm at BAM; Q&A with Schiller follows screening of new digital restoration) [BKMag]

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