The films of 1968

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - 1968 -

ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST

(Ser­gio Leone) Dario Ar­gento and Bernardo Ber­tolucci, the film’s co-writ­ers, spent days dis­cussing their favourite west­ern tropes with Leone and some­how man­aged to com­bine them all into one im­mensely en­ter­tain­ing pack­age (Clau­dia Car­di­nale, right).

PLANET OF THE APES

(Franklin J Schaffner) “You ma­ni­acs! You blew it up!” Con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous con­cerns about race are ad­dressed side­ways and wor­ries about nu­clear war are tack­led head on in this time­less sci­encefic­tion para­ble (be­low). Roddy McDowall is less creepy when wear­ing a mon­key mask. SHAME (Ing­mar Bergman) What would se­ri­ous cin­ema do with­out trou­bled mar­riages? Max von Sy­dow and Liv Ul­mann do great work as a cou­ple cop­ing badly with the ad­vance of war. The mod­ern world is else­where. ROSE­MARY’S BABY (Ro­man Polan­ski) One of the great New York films. One of the great hor­ror films. One of the great films. The peren­ni­ally creepy Mia Far­row and John Cas­savetes be­come en­tan­gled with Satanists. Polan­ski re­tains an icily un­set­tling tone.

IF...

(Lind­say An­der­son) It took a fan­tas­ti­cally posh English­man to put the revo­lu­tion on the screen. An­der­son’s film, in which Mal­colm McDow­ell wields an an­gry Bren gun, does ex­hibit a cer­tain clum­si­ness – the school is so­ci­ety, see – but it re­mains grip­ping and blackly funny.

THE PRO­DUC­ERS

(Mel Brooks) “My blue blan­ket!” Only 20 years af­ter the war ended, Brooks dares to tell a few Hitler jokes. Here, the counter-cul­ture still seems to be run by 1950s beat­niks. Never mind. It’s still gut-bust­ingly funny.

JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME

(Alain Res­nais) Un­der­rated film by the French mas­ter in which, fol­low­ing a time-travel ex­per­i­ment, a man is forced to re­live in­ci­dents from his past in ran­dom or­der. At the time, the rest of France was too busy throw­ing bricks at gen­darmes to make movies.

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

(Stan­ley Kubrick) At times pur­posely te­dious, at oth­ers dis­con­cert­ingly psy­che­delic, Kubrick’s film (be­low) has de­fied its many de­trac­tors – most main­stream crit­ics slammed it on re­lease – to sur­vive as a thrilling spec­u­la­tion on a fu­ture now passed. NIGHT OF THE LIV­ING DEAD (Ge­orge A Romero) When the streets are taken over by sham­bling hordes – in this case, the un­dead – so­ci­ety re­sponds with hys­te­ria and un­rea­son. Soon, gun-tot­ing red­necks are out hunt­ing black folk. The film was fin­ished on the day Martin Luther King was shot. It shows. THE ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN (Peter Len­non) Grim streets. Cen­sor­ship ev­ery­where. Fr Michael Cleary stomp­ing about the place like the oaf he was. Good grief, Ire­land was mis­er­able in 1968. Still, Len­non’s film, shot by the great Raoul Coutard, re­mains a crack­ing piece of work.

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