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Which films did you want to show that were not available?
One thing that I really wanted to show, but that just wasn't available, was an omnibus film called Boccaccio '70. It's available on DVD. I first saw it on the late show. Growing up in Detroit the late show would show foreign language films. But dubbed of course. And I would frequently watch Boccaccio '70, which had shorts by Fellini, Visconti, and De Sica. European producers were big in that era, and as Andrew Sarris used to say, they would make movies for their mistresses. Apparently, the guy who produced Boccaccio '70 thought it would be commercial to name a film after Boccaccio and to have stories that were bawdy in a Boccaccio sense without necessarily having been adaptations.
Four things I was really excited about showing: One was Lawrence, one was Jacques Demy's Lola, one was Boccaccio '70, and the other was Long Day's Journey Into Night. Just couldn't get a print of the latter two.
Obviously, many of Demy's later films�€”The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, for example�€”are more revered than Lola. Do you have a particular affection for this one?
I do. I think none should be more revered than Lola. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is more avant-garde, but [Lola] has to do with what we learn about life from movies. Actually, put it this way, it has to do with what we expect from life because of movies.
The series includes two John Wayne films, Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Hawks's Hatari! Among the trends you can see in 1962 is that Wayne was still one of the biggest stars on the planet, and that although Westerns were still very popular, the genre itself was becoming passé.
The fact that you have John Wayne alongside Anouk Aimée [the star of Lola] shows you the richness of the culture. The culture was moving fast, but it was truly alive, it was a vibrant culture. You had all these innovative currents coming from Europe, and you also had the Americans, the Hollywood Old Masters who were ending things up, but they were still potent. They could still make great movies.
You've said that you want to revise film history with this series. What do you think we might be able to get out of comparing the film culture of 1962 to the film culture we have now?
Number one, that film culture is not TV culture. You really do need to see these films on the big screen. We'll have a panel discussion on the day that we're showing Lawrence of Arabia, and that might be the ultimate example. That is not an experience you can have on television.
In that sense, we have to return to the old way of appreciating movies�€”not as something you see on DVD, not as something that you watch on television, or even on an iPod. You need a big screen. A lot of these films in the series are, in fact, CinemaScope movies. CinemaScope is the best, it's an open arm embrace. That's genuine cinema, or rather, by 1962, that is what cinema had become.