Tuesday, April 23, 2019

WUH: Lemora vs. Valerie

Quite by happenstance I watched both of these films recently and was struck by their similarities. Two young girls, Lila Lee in the American South and Valerie in Czechoslovakia, are each experiencing the perilous journey into womanhood. Both are pursued by lecherous clergyman, amorous lady friends, relatives, and vampires within dark fairy tale landscapes. Will one or both succumb to the temptations laid before them, or emerge with their purity in tact?

Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1974), directed by Richard Blackburn and starring Cheryl Smith and Leslie Gilb.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970), directed by Jaromil Jires and starring Jaroslava Schallerová.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

S2E1. I'm God's lonely man: Taxi Driver (1976)

Almost three months after the end of Season One Wake Up Heavy is back with our Season Two opener on Martin Scorsese's gritty-seventies-existential-nihilistic masterpiece Taxi Driver. WUH welcomes back Mike White from The Projection Booth podcast for another stimulating discussion.

Powerful in its cinematic style and controversial in its depiction of violence, Paul Schrader's script and Scorsese's frenetic direction imbue the film with a mounting tension that ultimately explodes in a "kill crazy rampage." By the end happenstance turns Travis Bickle, our Avenging Angel, into the "Hero Cabbie."

Robert DeNiro, in a role that has followed him through his career, leads a stellar cast including Cybil Shepherd, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, and, in one of five movies from 1976, 12 year-old Jodie Foster. Her role as a young prostitute was one of the more controversial aspects of the film, and would in turn inspire John Hinckley, Jr. to try and assassinate President Ronald Reagan.