AMERICAN GIGOLO
1980, Paramount, 117 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Julian Kaye (Richard Gere) is a suave, Armani-clad prostitute embroiled in a steamy affair with a senator’s wife (Lauren Hutton) when he becomes the prime suspect in the murder of one of his previous clients. Helmed by RAGING BULL scribe Paul Schrader, this stylish, ’80s-chic crime drama is driven by Gere’s layered portrait of the vulnerable, hopelessly empty playboy. “Call Me,” the endlessly catchy Blondie theme song written for the film, is both a literal reference to the protagonist’s work as a callboy and an allusion to the brilliantly rendered, desperate yearning for human connection that underlies practically every relationship in this seminal film.


DAYS OF HEAVEN
1978, Paramount, 95 min, Dir: Terrence Malick

Director Terrence Malick’s lyrical tone poem set at the turn of the 20th century tracks impoverished Chicago couple Richard Gere and Brooke Adams as they migrate to the Texas Panhandle and masquerade as brother and sister to find farm work. When their smitten, terminally ill boss (Sam Shepard) proposes to Adams, the couple see a way out of their poverty. But after the marriage, Shepard seemingly recovers, and tragic complications gradually unfold. Gorgeous, thoughtful and at times achingly romantic, this ambitious working-class epic set the standard for Malick’s future films - passionate, moody and serene meditations on the human condition set in a tragic dimension. Nestor Almendros won the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Co-starring Linda Manz.


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