Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Case Study No. 1791: Vicky

Larry Kent HIGH trailer
This is a trailer I cut for a screening at Blue Sunshine, it is not an official trailer for the film.
Tags: high trailer
Added: 3 years ago
From: chrismitchumfan
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In (1969)
High (original title)

A stylish, freewheeling work set against the drug counterculture of the 1960's, High offers a surprisingly hard-edged look at the nastiness behind the sunny facade of the summer of love. Tom, an amoral Montreal drifter who supports himself by peddling dope and fleecing lonely woman, hooks up with Vicky, a straight-laced librarian, and initiates her, all too well, into his criminal ways. The film is more experimental than Kent's earlier features, with shifts from monochrome into color, liberal use of color tints, overexposures, and still photos, and a psychedelic credit sequences. Replete with Kent's characteristically frank sex scenes and nudity, High became a cause celebre when, just prior to its premier at the Montreal Film Festival, it was banned by the Quebec censors, prompting the likes of Warren Beatty, Jean Renoir and Fritz Lang to speak out in praise of the film. In a gesture of solidarity, Alan King and Jean-Pierre Lefebvre, co winners of the festival's Canadian competition, shared their prize money with Kent. The film was banned in Ontario and B.C.



Director: Larry Kent

Writer: Larry Kent

Starring: Lanning Beckman, Astri Torvik, Peter Mathews, Joyce Cay, Denis Payne, Laurie Wynn Kent, Doris Cowan, Mortie Golub, Carol Epstein, Al Mayoff, Melinda McCracken, Gary Eisenkraft, Jack Esbein, Paul Kirby, Peter Pyper

Canadian filmmaker Larry Kent's 1967 controversial cult classic, High follows a cynical young bohemian named Tom (Lanning Beckman) who is l-i-v-i-n in Montreal. A small time marijuana dealer, Tom spends most of his time trying to pick up women. He eventually falls in love with a young librarian named Vicky (Astri Thorvik). Vicky and Tom spend their days and nights having sex and getting high; but when Tom eventually runs out of cash, they are forced turn to petty theft. With the stolen loot they take a weekend trip to Toronto, but after a couple of days of senseless spending they quickly find themselves back in their natural state of poverty. Frustration with their financial situation ups the ante as Vicky and Tom turn to more drastic tactics in order to survive.

Part of the Canadian "angry young man" cinematic cannon of work, High showcases an amoral protagonist with strong anti-social tendencies who will do anything to avoid becoming part of the establishment. Tom and Vicky expect life to be much simpler, for money to be easier to come by. They would have been perfectly content holed up in their flat, having sex and smoking joints for the rest of their lives...if only they could afford to continue living that lifestyle. It is the capitalist establishment that forces Tom and Vicky into a world of crime, but that is only because they refuse to subject themselves to legitimate employment.

Relying mostly upon grainy, black and white, cinema verite cinematography (Paul Van der Linden), Kent uses occasional flashes of color to increase the film's trippiness. To a 21st century audience, Kent's visual tricks will seem laughably cliche, but these kaleidoscopic freak-outs were actually fairly common in films of the late 1960s (as was sitar music and backwards-playing rock music). Unfortunately, High's sexual content was not quite common enough for Kent to avoid being hassled by the Quebec censorship bureau. The film's premiere at the 1967 Montreal Film Festival had to be cancelled, but Jean Renoir, Fritz Lang, Warren Beatty, and the festival winners joined in solidarity with Kent. Eventually High became one of the films that prompted Quebec to replace its censors with a film classification system.

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