The Retrospective of the 54th Berlinale 2004 will be dedicated to a unique epoch in US film history: with “New Hollywood 1967 – 1976. Trouble in Wonderland”, the festival will bring a wonderful decade of cinematic art back to the screen. These films, made in the spirit of new tendencies, especially in politics, have in the meantime become classics. Eager to experiment, they departed remarkably from traditional narrative patterns.
“The political and social upheavals of this era brought forth a form of cinema which even from today’s perspective contributed to one of the most exciting developments in film. Movies like Easy Rider influenced an entire generation. And it was the decline of the old Hollywood studio system which made the birth of the ‘independent’ scene possible”, Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick stated about the Retrospective 2004.
At the end of the 1960s, the USA seemed to be erupting: Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and the Vietnam War divided the nation; students began rebelling and Afro-Americans were becoming increasingly radical. Pop, rock and youth movements fused into a counterculture. The classic Hollywood film industry was suffering from a deep financial and creative crisis. A new film culture came into being and broken heroes took over the screens – suddenly, what had been inconceivable for “Old Hollywood” was now possible. An unease and concern about the world were being articulated, revealing the discrepancy between the official representation of socio-political events and people’s own real-life experiences. The big Hollywood studios were losing their audiences, while the new “independent” productions were being swamped at the box offices.
The Retrospective “New Hollywood 1967 – 1976. Trouble in Wonderland” will screen 66 films: from Arthur Penn’s gangster ballad Bonnie and Clyde (1967) to Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and Robert Kramer’s study of a generation Milestones (1976); from D. A. Pennebaker’s Dylan portrait Don’t Look Back (1967) to Emile de Antonio’s and Haskell Wexler’s Underground (1976), a film “the FBI didn’t want you to see”. It will also include road movies like Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider (1969) and Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop (1971); as well as films that depict outsiders, as in Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) and Bill Norton’s Cisco Pike (1971), or hippies, drifters and loners, as in: Jerry Schatzberg’s The Panic in Needle Park (1971) and Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces (1970). There will be Westerns like Peter Fonda’s The Hired Hand (1970), which completely reversed the traditional role of the cowboy. And last but not least, there will be the classics of “New Hollywood”: Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971), Coppola’s The Godfather I and II (1971/1974), Polanski’s Chinatown (1974).
The Retrospective of the Berlin International Film Festival 2004 is being organized by the Filmmuseum Berlin – Deutsche Kinemathek under the supervision of Hans Helmut Prinzler. It is being held in cooperation with the Österreichische Filmmuseum, Vienna. Screenings will be at the CinemaxX at Potsdamer Platz, related lectures and discussions at the Filmmuseum Berlin. The publication "New Hollywood 1967 – 1976. Trouble in Wonderland" will be published by Bertz Verlag, Berlin.
November 4, 2003