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DRIVE, HE SAID
1971, Sony Repertory, 90 min, USA, Dir: Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson’s first trip behind the camera as director is a subtle character study about basketball, college and Vietnam. It stands as one of the best sports-related movies ever made and captures the true feeling of the late ’60s/early ’70s college experience. William Tepper is a star basketball player with a drug-addled best friend (Michael Margotta) who is dodging the draft and a faculty-wife girlfriend (Karen Black) bent on giving him the boot. Bruce Dern's performance as the snide, take-no-prisoners coach is masterfully hard-nosed. With Robert Towne and Henry Jaglom in prime supporting roles, and cinematography by Bill Butler. "Nicholson deftly illustrates the background cynicism of big-time sports against the more obvious cynicism of college life." – Variety.


THE LUSTY MEN
1952, Warner Bros., 113 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

In this story of an indomitable woman and the men who will risk anything to have her, rodeo star Jeff McCloud (Robert Mitchum) hobbles back home to Oklahoma after a series of accidents. But when ambitious young rider Wes Merritt (Arthur Kennedy) hires McCloud as coach, the younger man's wife, Louise (Susan Hayward), is the lure that attracts McCloud. Louise is willing to allow McCloud's advances if it will help her husband; however, when the unstable triangle of passion inevitably leads to a confrontation between Merritt and McCloud, the aging rider enters one last rodeo just to thwart Merritt's ambition - but at a terrible price.


THE BIG BLUE
LE GRAND BLEU
1988, Gaumont, 138 min, France, Dir: Luc Besson

Sea lover Luc Besson lets his devotion to all things oceanic, particularly the experience of diving, run the full gamut of emotions here, making the water a character in and of itself. His very personal film is part mystical quest, part bittersweet romantic comedy, with Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr), who lost his diver father to the ocean, obsessed with proving himself more dolphin than man. Johanna (Rosanna Arquette) meets and falls in love with him while she is on a trip to Peru. She begins to follow Jacques on his mission, journeying to Taormina, Italy, where he will compete against childhood friend Enzo (Jean Reno) for a deep-sea free-diving championship (diving without oxygen tanks). “The real star of the film, however, is the third corner of the love triangle, the sea itself. Sumptuously captured by Besson's camera, and brought to life by Eric Serra's haunting score, it is sometimes beautiful and calm, other times dark and threatening. … There are so many reasons to love this film, and an opportunity to catch it in all its soaring majesty on the big screen should not be missed.” – Ben Stephens, Edinburgh University Film Society.


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