April 5

BROKEN TRAIL: WALTER HILL IN THE 1970s

Although the career of Walter Hill (1942–) is most commonly identified with the series of postmodern genre films he made in the 1980s (such as Streets of Fire), and reached a commercial peak with the production of 48 Hrs. in 1983, his influential work in the 1970s presents a leaner and more classical approach to genre. Hill began his Hollywood career as an assistant director on films like The Thomas Crown Affair before quickly establishing a formidable reputation as a writer of terse, downbeat, stripped back crime movies like Hickey & Boggs and The Getaway (he was also one of the producers of Alien later in the decade). The group of films Hill made between 1975 and 1980 after switching to directing, taking in Hard Times, The Driver, The Warriors and the elegant Western, The Long Riders, represent one of the most underrated contributions to that most storied of decades and betray the deep influence of classical directors such as Raoul Walsh and Howard Hawks.

This program presents Hill’s remarkable first two films and showcases their wonderfully lived-in sense of genre, place and movement. The two films also feature key performances by several iconic male actors of the decade including Charles Bronson, Ryan O’Neal, James Coburn and Bruce Dern.

April 5

7:00pm THE DRIVER
Walter Hill (1978) 91 mins M

Hill’s lean, iconic neo-noir was a significant influence on the work of Quentin Tarantino and Nicolas Winding Refn while itself paying loving homage to Melville’s Le samouraï and Raoul Walsh (who approved of the script prior to production). An unnamed driver (Ryan O’Neal) steals fast cars to use as getaway vehicles in a series of audacious LA heists, while an egocentric cop (Bruce Dern) doggedly tracks him down. Featuring some of the greatest car chases ever put on film, Hill’s streamlined cult movie has emerged as one of the key works of ’70s genre cinema, revelling in a cool and remarkably atmospheric vision of the nocturnal city.

With Isabelle Adjani and Ronee Blakley.

CTEQ ANNOTATION:
Bitumen Music: Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978) by John Edmond.

Trailer:


8:45pm HARD TIMES
Walter Hill (1975) 93 mins PG

Hill’s debut feature is a wonderfully atmospheric and physically robust portrait of a freight car-hopping drifter (Charles Bronson) who becomes involved in the brutal world of bare-knuckled boxing. Betraying the core influence of Hill’s previous collaborator, Sam Peckinpah, this bruising but soulful film carves out its own mood and strikingly taciturn, spare approach to action and genre. Shot on location in Louisiana, and pungently set during the Great Depression, it remains one of Bronson’s greatest films and features a marvellous support cast including James Coburn, Strother Martin and Jill Ireland.

CTEQ ANNOTATION:
Hard Times (1975): Walter Hill’s Bareknuckle Ballad by Adam Powell.

Trailer:

February 5
OPENING NIGHT

February 12 – February 26
VITTORIO DE SICA: CINEMA, ITALIAN STYLE

March 4 – March 18
LIGHT AND SHADOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF MARLENE DIETRICH

March 23 – April 6
CAST A DARK SHADOW: THE BEAUTIFUL SADNESS OF DIRK BOGARDE

April 13 – April 29
THE BIG CARNIVAL: THE FILMS OF BILLY WILDER

May 6 – May 20
“LIFE’S PARADE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS”: DOUGLAS SIRK

May 27 – June 10
WILDFLOWERS: DANCING, DESIRE AND FREEDOM IN THE FILMS OF GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

June 17 – July 1
DRIFTING STATES: THE FILMS OF APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL

July 8
AT HOME IN THE WORLD: CECIL HOLMES, ACTIVIST FILMMAKER

July 15 – July 29
HIROSHI SHIMIZU: FORGOTTEN MASTER

September 2 – September 16
JEAN COCTEAU: THE POETRY OF DREAMS

September 23 – September 30
QUEERING THE ARCHIVE: THE CINEMA OF BARBARA HAMMER

October 7 – October 14
GALLOWS BACCHANALIAS, FRACTIOUS FAIRY-TALES AND THE RULE OF THREE: THE CINEMA OF JURAJ JAKUBISKO

October 21 – November 4
REACHING BEYOND THE FRAME: THE POETIC CINEMA OF ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

November 11 – November 25
BORSCHT, SAUERKRAUT, GOULASH AND LEMONADE: AN INTRODUCTION TO OSTERNS AND RED WESTERNS

December 2 – December 16
THE LAND IS OURS: YOUSSEF CHAHINE