This was part of a series of reviews of the ASUW Film series back in the '70's. Except for some punctuation, I haven't changed anything from the way it was presented, giving the kid I was back in the '70's a break. Any stray thoughts and updates I've included with the inevitable asterisked post-scripts.
"Ramparts of Clay" aka "Remparts d'argile" (Jean-Louis Bertuclucci, 1968)"Ramparts of Clay" was on John Hartl's ten best list this year--that doesn't mean anything, it's just a fact--also a fact that a co-worker at KCMU thought it was an extremely oppressive film, and I respect his opinion, as well.
Okay, this is just to tell you that the opinions very, and my opinion is just one in the crowd's. "Ramparts of Clay" is oppressive; its narrative moves at a snail's pace, and there is almost no truely-defined dialog (what there is, is elliptical at best).
Depressing prospect for ninety minutes' viewing, isn't it?
But there are many other films with these qualities: Nicholas Roeg's ("Walkabout"), Richard Lester's "Petulia," Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." The burden of these film's story-telling abilities falls on the shoulders of the images, and you have to be damned talented with your camera to pullit off. Jean-Louis Bertucelli is awful-damned talented, and so is his camera person Andreas Winding. It's a shame the print being shown on Saturday has so many scratches that distract from the beauty of the images. But you can glean some satisfaction from it, if you concentrate and let your eyes tell you the story, and let Bertucelli's elemental film-making--the way stories were told in silent (film) times--give you the information and direct your mind to what's going on.
On the other hand, you may find the film dull, but that is your opinion and it is the last one--and the one that's most important.
Cee-ripes! Way to "commit," Mr. "Reviewer!" Could we be any more vague? One of two things are happening here: either I didn't see the film (or fell asleep during it--not unlikely, although I do remember "Ramparts of Clay" and being moved by it) and I'm tap-dancing, or I didn't want to hurt that co-worker's feelings by saying they were "full of it" and a "film-weenie" just because the film was being told solely by images, which they considered "oppressive."
I'm way over that these days.
These days I don't quibble, or consider other people's opinions--I just tell them they're wrong, and, quite possibly, an idiot. Then, I'll compound the problem by telling them WHY they're wrong, and expect that to convince the poor soul that, yes, they truly are an idiot, thank you, thank you, Yojimbo, for opening my eyes to that fact, woe is me.
That doesn't happen much.
But I will say that any film drawing comparisons to "2001," "Walkabout," or "Petulia," is in august company, and worth another look-see.