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 8 - February 22
MARCELLO MASTROIANNI: 20TH-CENTURY MAN

March 1 - March 15
PLAYING WITH CONTRADICTION: THE INDOMITABLE ISABELLE HUPPERT

March 22 - March 29
WORKING WOMEN, SHOWGIRLS AND TRANGRESSIVE DESIRES: THE FILMS OF DOROTHY ARZNER

April 5
BROKEN TRAIL: WALTER HILL IN THE 1970s

April 12 - April 26
“I’LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND”: THE INTOXICATED CINEMA OF JOEL AND ETHAN COEN

May 3
BOLD ASPIRATIONS: HAROLD LLOYD AND 1920s AMERICA

May 10
WATER RITES: A COLLABORATION WITH THE HUMAN RIGHTS ARTS & FILM FESTIVAL

May 17
FILMS FROM THE CO-OPS PART 2: MELBOURNE

May 24-June 7
“BUILD MY GALLOWS HIGH”: ROBERT MITCHUM, HOLLYWOOD’S HARDBOILED SOUL

June 14 - June 28
DOUBLE AGENT: THE PERIOD FILMS OF ERIC ROHMER

July 5 - July 19
DREAMS OF EVERYDAY LIFE: THE QUIXOTIC CINEMA OF HIROKAZU KOREEDA

July 26
LUBITSCH: THE CHAPLIN TOUCH

August 23 - September 6
SHOCK TROOPS: THE FILMS OF PAUL VERHOEVEN

September 13 - 20
DELIRIUM AND DECADENCE: THE GIDDYING GOTHIC CINEMA OF JURAJ HERZ

September 27 - October 11
UNRULY WOMEN AND UNDISCIPLINED DESIRES: THE SUBLIMELY DECENTRED VISIONS OF JANE CAMPION

October 18 - November 1
STORIES FROM THE OUTSKIRTS OF BUCHAREST: THE DARK REALISM OF CRISTI PUIU

November 8 - November 22
RAOUL WALSH, THE GREAT TRAFFIC COP OF THE MOVIES

November 29
AND JUSTICE FOR ALL: THE COLLABORATIONS OF DARYL DELLORA AND SUE MASLIN

December 6 - December 13
OF THE WORLD AND ITS THINGS: THE MATERIALIST CINEMA OF DANIELE HUILLET AND JEAN-MARIE STRAUB