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:

7 February
OPENING NIGHT 2024

7 February – 21 February
FROM THE BOULEVARDS OF PARIS TO THE DOCKS OF CHERBOURG: LANDMARKS OF THE FRENCH FILM MUSICAL

28 February – 13 March
"LIVING MAY BE TRAGIC, BUT LIFE ISN'T": THE FILMS OF THE TAVIANI BROTHERS

20 March – 3 April
IN THE AFTERGLOW: THE MERCURIAL STARDOM OF GLORIA GRAHAME

Wednesday 10 April
MAN OF THE CINEMA: A TRIBUTE TO JOHN FLAUS AT 90

17 April – 1 May
KEEP ROLLING: ANN HUI'S COUNTER-CINEMA

8 May – 22 May
"ALL ART IS ONE": THE VISIONARY CINEMA OF MICHAEL POWELL AND EMERIC PRESSBURGER

29 May – 12 June
WRITING WITH HER EYES: SUSO CECCHI D'AMICO, SCREENWRITER AS OBSERVER

19 June – 3 July
THE HOUSE THAT MOHSEN BUILT: THE FILMS OF SAMIRA MAKHMALBAF, MARZIEH MESHKINI AND MOHSEN MAKHMALBAF

10 July – 24 July
THE PAIN OF LIVING: JEAN EUSTACHE, BEING CINEMA

Wednesday 31 July
BETWEEN THE WAVE AND REVOLUTION: THE RETURN OF RIVETTE’S LEGENDARY L’AMOUR FOU

4–18 September
BLIND BEASTS, RED ANGELS AND HOODLUM SOLDIERS: THE IRRESISTIBLE CINEMA OF YASUZO MASUMURA

25 September – 9 October
JIŘÍ MENZEL: MAKING COMEDIES IS NO FUN

16–23 October
OF MEN AND MONSTERS: THE CINEMA OF NIKOS KOUNDOUROS

Wednesday 30 October
CONTESTED HISTORIES: THE DOCUMENTARIES OF JENI THORNLEY

6–20 November
THE FIRST AND LAST OF ENGLAND: THE QUEER LEGACIES OF DEREK JARMAN

Wednesday 27 November
PARADING THE PAST: RECENT ERNST LUBITSCH RESTORATIONS

4–11 December
THE SEEDS OF CHANGE: THE DOCUMENTARIES OF TOM ZUBRYCKI

Wednesday 18 December
CARLTON AND BEYOND: THE MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY FILM SOCIETY IN THE 1960s