May 68 will always be recognized as the moment of the biggest student revolts to ever happen. They reminded me of the Maple Spring we had here in the Province of Québec. At first it was the Spring of Prague in Czechoslovakia, then Italy took the relay, the death of three American students in South Carolina, in Poland a movement against the anti-Semitic government burst out, then in Tokyo, and finally in May it was in France that the whole May 68 took full resonance.
In our little world of Film it was the firing of Henri Langlois, the head of the French Cinematheque, which caused got a huge effect on French filmmakers but also got the support of Charlie Chaplin and Stanley Kubrick. Those events had an important influence on films around the entire world, bringing a leftist approach to filmmakers more commonly known as revisionist, See the Westerns of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. Or Arthur Penn‘s, Bonnie and Clyde. The films of 1970’s (the second Golden Age of Cinema) wouldn’t be the same without the French New Wave and the rise of May 68.
The year 1968 was an outstanding year in movies and let’s see what it brought for us movie lovers.
Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini was a master at crafting shocking and multi-layered films. Anyone who has seen Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom perfectly know that. Teorema is about a messianic figure that seduces an entire family of bourgeois and changes every member in a different fashion. A lot of Pasolini’s ideology is symbolized in this film: his communist/catholic opinions and his open sexuality are widely palpable. Often overlooked and lesser known than the aforementioned Salo, it had a big influence on someone like Martin Scorsese.
9. Baisers volés aka Stolen Kisses
The cycle of Antoine Doinel, the alter ego of François Truffaut portrayed by Jean-Pierre Léaud began with the mind blowing The 400 Blows, a cornerstone of the French New Wave and evolved through time in the life of both men. It may not be as revolutionary as their first collaboration together but still a very strong Truffaut film.
8. Witchfinder General
This lesser known Horror movie sees Vincent Pryce star as Matthew Hopkins, a witch hunter. Pryce and Horror is a perfect match and this story is surprisingly well shot. A little gem that is often overlooked.
Does this Steve McQueen car movie need a presentation? McQueen was an absolute fan of speed and driving. The car chase sequence took seven days to shoot in the streets of San Francisco. An iconic film with an iconic actor and an iconic car.
One of the few genre films by Swedish master Ingmar Bergman, Skammen or Shame follows a couple of musicians during War time and it studies the involvement of civilians during these incredibly difficult times. Bergman was a man of great ideas and he knew how to translate his vision on the screen with the strong performances of his two lead actors Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman. A representation of shame on many levels.
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