Sunday, 9 October 2011
The Last Picture Show 
Though 70’s American cinema has come to be broadly identified by its anti- establishmentarian spirit, Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show was anything but rebellious. Rather, it was a bittersweet ‘slice of life’ coming-of-age film filled with nostalgia about a time, so to speak, that has been lost in space. Set in a desolate fictional Texan town fast losing its sense of identity with each passing year, the movie has been chronicled through the eyes of Sonny (Timothy Bottoms), a high-school senior belonging to the lower-middle class section of the society – the kind the town is mostly filled with. It provides loving snippets of the lives of its unspectacular yet “real” characters – Duanne (Jeff Bridges), Sonny’s closest friend and his football team-mate, who’s poor like him but in love with the pretty but shallow Jacy (Cybill Shephard), the daughter of rich parents who Sonny starts dating after her breakup with Duanne, which inevitably leads to trouble between the two friends; Jacy’s mother is the beautiful Lois (Ellen Burstyn) who was once (and perhaps still is) the love of life of Sam (Ben Johnson), the owner of the local pool hall and the person Sonny becomes very close to before his untimely death; Sam’s son is a dim-witted young boy who Sonny takes care of; Sonny meanwhile stumbles into a surreptitious affair with the much older Ruth (Cloris Leachman), the lonely wife of his coach. The film boasts of rich character study wonderfully captured through naturalistic performances by the ensemble cast, and the bleak B/W photography superbly accentuated its strongly palpable melancholia and the deeply elegiac tone.
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Genre: Drama/Coming of Age/Slice of Life/Americana/Ensemble Film