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THE LAST PICTURE SHOW

PETER BOGDANOVICH

This film screened 7th February 2010.

EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

The pinnacle of former critic Peter Bogdanovich’s directorial career, this evocative portrait of idling lives in early 1950s’ small-town America is a far more grown-up offering than almost anything from today’s Hollywood output.

Two high-school pals trace the fine line between innocence and experience, sensitive Timothy Bottoms finding solace in ‘older woman’ Cloris Leachman, while Jeff Bridges – just 22 and delivering a generous, astute, Oscar-nominated performance – is the cocky stud tangling with socially ambitious blonde bombshell Cybill Shepherd. As the community’s fleapit cinema faces closure, there’s a sense of an older, kinder nation (represented by wise old-stager Ben Johnson, a John Ford regular) being lost, effectively a comment on the identity crisis facing Vietnam-era America. Bracingly austere black-and-white camerawork by Bruce Surtees imprints it all with the presence of myth, as Hank Williams tunes strike the perfect note of raw desolation. Re-released in a newly restored digital version, The Last Picture Show is a classic. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

118 minutes| U.S.A.| 1971| Black and White| D-Cinema

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