My watching as I dove head first into the New Year followed a few distinct phases. For the first week or so I did not have a working computer, so rather than relying on streaming I delved into the wild world of blind-bought Blu-rays that had been piling up (mostly from Kino, Twilight Time, and Criterion). You can also detect some frantic catching up on films on the Criterion Channel that expired at the end of January, films on Netflix that I had actually watched months ago back when that was my job, a deluge of screeners for Best International Oscar contenders (lots of free screenings of those popping into my inbox; I was overjoyed!), and lastly a handful of films from the Sundance Film Festival. As always, I’ll highlight a few favorites after the cut.
Pauline: I am very sorry that there are so many people who have nothing.
Woody Guthrie: Sure. Course you are. Sorry don’t get the hay in. So you ladle ’em up the soup and dish out a little charity?
Pauline: Well, we’re not all as gifted as you are. Some of us just do the best we can.
Woody Guthrie: Pauline, let me tell you somethin’. When I. . .well, when I was on the road, I met a lot of different kinds of people. There was bums and freeloaders. There was families that was torn apart. And poor people that just was achin’ for some kind of work. And men that are just tryin’ to get somewhere. Anywhere. They all got somethin’ in common, that every one of them had somethin’ to give me. Then you meet some man that’s got some money, and he’ll be… tied up and anxious. The human thing is just gone. It’s just gone, cos he’s afraid. Afraid that he’s gonna lose somethin’. He’s afraid to smile, cos somebody’s gonna swipe his teeth out his mouth.
President “Bobby”: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President “Bobby”: In the garden.
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President “Bobby”: Spring and summer.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
President “Bobby”: Then fall and winter.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
President “Bobby”: Hmm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
President “Bobby”: I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
George Roundy: You ever listen to women talk, man? Do you? Cuz I do til’ it’s running out my ears. I mean, I am on my feet all day listening to women talk and they only talk about one thing: how some guy fucked them over. That’s all that’s on their minds. That’s all I ever hear about. Don’t you know that?
Lester Karpf: I follow your thinking on that.
George Roundy: I mean, face it. We’re always trying to nail them and they know it. They don’t like it. They like it and they don’t like it.
Maude: I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?
Harold: I don’t know. One of these, maybe.
Maude: Why do you say that?
Harold: Because they’re all alike.
Maude: Oooh, but they’re *not*. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals. All *kinds* of observable differences. You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world’s sorrow comes from people who are *this*
[points to a daisy], yet allow themselves be treated as *that* [gestures to a field of daisies].
I know there is at least one book on this subject and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but thanks to TCM showing several movies from that year, I have to agree completely. What I mean by Cinema, is Hollywood and American Cinema, because a lot of how it changed was based on things French New Wave directors had already been doing for almost ten years.
One way to see this change is by looking at the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Four of the films are harbingers of the new Hollywood. One is old guard and because of that in addition I want to talk about another film that, although nominated for four Oscars, was not up for Best Picture.
The five films up for Best Picture were Bonnie & Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In The Heat of the Night. The film sixth film I’m going to discuss is In Cold Blood.