Wild West from Mexico to Thailand

The Kino Pod Baranami “Wystrzalowe” [which translates as either “Shoot-Out” or “Cool”.] Summer Film Festival is already half-over, having run through some films more (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) and less (“Midnight Cowboy,” “Dead Man”) affiliated with the Cowboy/Wild West genre. Last week also offered some Central European forays into the pseudo-American desert.For next weekend (Aug. 3-5) we can look forward to the always-compelling American director John Houston in one of his most famous moments, a film called “The Misfits,:” featuring Marilyn Monroe and a screenplay by Arthur Miller (“Death of a Salesman”). The other two films in this “Women of the Wild West? weekend include a melodrama called “Cat Ballou,” and a French film called ?Les Petroleuses,? about which the promotional materials (!) have this to say: “The only attraction of this failure of a film is the performances of its two great stars ? Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale.”The next weekend’s (Aug. 10-12) theme is ?The Very Weird West,” featuring Kurosawa’s 1954 classic “The Seven Samurai,” the epic (160 minutes) tale of a small band of samurai hired to help clean up a town from its invaders. Lots of action, dazzling cinematography guaranteed. A 2000 film called “The Tears of the Black Tiger” (Thailand) is a horse of a different color, a kind of star-crossed lovers done in hyper-kitsch technicolor as only the Thai know how. Will love conquer all? And finally, the weirdest of the lot (and probably the whole festival) is “El Topo” (The Mole), a Mexican film described as “more of an experience than a film,” about a nameless wanderer who comes from the desert with his gun to rid the world of evil, and by the end of the film is devoting himself to helping the handicapped and the midgets…The final weekend (Aug. 18) will feature only the American 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles.” Has Mel Brooks’s humor survived into the 21st century more or less intact? We here at the editorial offices are somewhat skeptical, but there?s only one way to find out. 

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