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Influential US films screened in Lausanne

Screen still from the Hollywood classic "The French Connection" (picture: Swiss Film Archives)

The Swiss Film Archives in Lausanne have begun a retrospective of American cinema from 1960 to 1980. Movies being screened include "Easy Rider", "The French Connection" and "The Wild Bunch".

This period is seen by the archive as a time of major innovation in cinema history, which marked the rise to prominence of such “New Hollywood” directors as Scorcese, Coppola, Altman and Peckinpah.

It also saw the appearance of many new faces in front of the camera, including actors who still have box office appeal, among them Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino.

The head of the archives, Hervé Dumont, regards the period as an exciting one for US movies. “Directors were leaving the studios and going out into the streets to shoot scenes,” he says. “We saw the emergence of independent film-makers influenced by their European counterparts.

“Their films were thought-provoking and intelligently-made for cinema audiences, without boring them.”

Many of the films featured in the retrospective have since achieved cult status, such as “Easy Rider” – about intolerance in middle America – and “M.A.S.H”, a cynical movie set in a US surgical unit during the Korean war.

In stark contrast and parallel to the programme of US movies, the archives are also screening a retrospective of less well-known films made in the former Soviet Union between 1926 and 1966.

This will feature films which were banned after they were completed, some which were harshly censored, and others which are today considered avant-garde and to be of high artistic merit.

The films can by seen at Lausanne’s Casino de Montbenon and Salle Paderewski.

by Richard Dawson

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR