EASY RIDER
1969, Sony Repertory, 94 min, USA, Dir: Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper’s directorial debut is a simultaneous celebration of and elegy to the counterculture. Two lone-wolf bikers (Peter Fonda, Hopper) make a killing on a drug deal and, to commemorate their new financial independence, decide to roll cross-country on a tour of southwestern America. What they find are exhilarating open spaces, free-love communes and people living off the land. But they also find bad acid trips and a mortally dangerous climate of prejudice. Jack Nicholson shot to stardom (as well as receiving numerous awards, including a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination) for his funny, irreverent turn as a misfit alcoholic lawyer in a small Southern town. The collaborative script was by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern. With great music by Steppenwolf, Roger McGuinn, Jimi Hendrix and more!


COCKFIGHTER
1974, Concorde-New Horizons, 83 min, USA, Dir: Monte Hellman

Monte Hellman, adapting the novel by Charles Willeford (Miami Blues), follows stubborn loner Warren Oates, who had been disqualified from receiving a Cockfighter of the Year award due to his boisterous, intoxicated behavior during a match. Oates takes a vow of silence until he wins again, and we follow him on his lonely odyssey, trying to regain his lost sense of worth as he partners with fast-talking gambler Omar (Richard B. Shull) and plans for the future with his sweetheart (Patricia Pearcy). Filmed on Georgia locations (cockfighting reportedly was still legal there) by Nestor Almendros, director Hellman creates another austere slice-of-life road saga, remaining true to the seedy milieu but bringing a compassion and insight to the characters indicative of his agile and elegant strengths as a filmmaker. With an exceptional cast that includes Harry Dean Stanton, Millie Perkins, Troy Donahue, Laurie Bird, Ed Begley Jr., Steve Railsback and a cameo by novelist Charles Willeford.


TWO-LANE BLACKTOP
1971, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Monte Hellman

Two motorheads in a supercharged Chevy (singer James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson) take on Warren Oates and his monstrous Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race. Haunted by the vast, open spaces of the Midwest and an addictive sense of speed, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP is the essential American road movie - Hellman calls it "the last movie of the ’60s." One of the amazing things about the film is its Bressonian simplicity in placing its protagonists in a universe stripped down for maximum velocity to an astonishingly bleak and lonely microcosm - the hard, spartan interiors of Taylor’s and Oates’ cars. With Laurie Bird.


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