Thursday, 19 September
Harold and Maude
HAROLD AND MAUDE 1971 Directed by Hal Ashby 91 minutes in English
Let's stick our heads a bit above ground, and screen Hal Ashby's rebellious 1971 bright black comedy Harold and Maude, an odd cult film with a narrative full of quirky dark humor, and a theme that is unthinkable in movies made today. This film was made in a crucial period in Hollywood which lasted about 6 years, a time when they were willing to experiment with counter-cultural themes. It is, in essence a story about breaking away from the status quo, and learning to live your own life and not imitate others. It's a comedy, but not a stupid one... rather it's a beauty with a deep, heartfelt message.
The story concerns Harold, a teenager obsessed with death. When he isn't contemplating suicide, he spends his spare time going to funerals of people he doesn't know. He just likes the atmosphere. At one funeral he meets Maude, a 79 year old fireball of a woman... which leads to an unlikely romance. Although the film sparkles with a 1960s sense of freedom and optimism (the legendary soundtrack is by Cat Stevens) this optimism is correctly placed within the film as a direct response to the tragedy of Dachau and Auschwitz. This is a film about embracing life.
We are screening this Hollywood off-beat classic (which flopped when it came out) for two reasons. First for its exquisite black humor (which clearly influenced, for example, Tim Burton among many others). Secondly, as a tribute to its director Hal Ashby (Shampoo, Coming Home, Being There) who, it could be said, was later "suicided by Hollywood." This is a magical cult flick about nonconformity - a radically different spirit than the so-called individualism we have today under hyper-consumerism. Check it out... it might just change your life.
Another high-definition screening.
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