New Careers in New Towns: Berlin Syndrome and Personal Shopper

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide: Peter Watkins’ Privilege

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“Smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” – The Youngbloods, “Get Together”

“I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” – Steven Shorter, Privilege

In 1967, rock ‘n’ roll was the sound of a generation with the power to change the world. At least that’s how baby boomer nostalgia tells it, anyway, with its fabled Summer of Love, flower power and Sgt. Pepper — Altamont, May ’68, and Coldplay but a distant, unknowable nightmare. Whatever hash-scented winds were a-blowin’, however, they apparently failed to reach Peter Watkins’ door. Just as tie-dye bliss hit peak delusion, the British filmmaker unleashed Privilege, a scathing satire that set its sights squarely on the commodification of the counter-culture’s rock dream. It was the antithesis of “all you need is love”: bleak, sinister, disdainful of both the establishment and swinging ’60s youth — and a flop with critics and audiences before vanishing into relative obscurity.1 Placed in the context of the year it’s a fascinating, brutal anomaly; seen a half-century later, even the most casual observer would be hard-pressed to miss its grim cultural prescience. Continue reading

Method and Madness: The Dueling Brandos of Listen to Me Marlon and Lost Soul

brandodigitalWas latter-day Marlon Brando the corpulent madman of myth, or a visionary genius who’d already moved on to the next level of movie acting? While the perception of the 20th century’s most famous actor as a paycheck-cashing recluse in his later years endures in the public consciousness, two recent documentaries cast a different light on the unraveling of the man who revolutionized cinema performance—and in turn expose a method to his supposed madness. Continue reading