Saturday, January 20, 2018

More (1969 film)

Directed by Barbet Schroeder and screenplay by Schroeder and Paul Gegauff from a story by Schroeder, More is the story of a German boy and American girl who meet in Paris as they go on a trip to Ibiza to explore the world of the drug culture of the 1960s. The film is a look into youth culture of the late 1960s at a time where drugs and the idea of free love where the rage with two people caught up in this world. Starring Mimsy Farmer and Klaus Grunberg. More is a mesmerizing though flawed film from Barbet Schroeder.

The film follows a German student who hitchhikes to Paris where he meets an American girl and falls for her where he later follows her to the Spanish island of Ibiza where they engage in sex and drugs. That is pretty much the premise of the film provided by Barbet Schroeder and Paul Gegauff with dialogue co-written by Mimsy Farmer, Eugene Archer, and Paul Gardner as it doesn’t really do much to flesh out the premise even more. Especially as it explore the highs and lows of the 1960s counterculture with much of the latter is prevalent for the film’s second half. The character of Stefan (Klaus Grunberg) is a student that is interested in adventure and smoking dope but not wanting to do hard drugs. When he meets Estelle (Mimsy Farmer) as she is a woman that is the party as she goes to Ibiza to live in a villa with Stefan though she is connected to a former Nazi named Dr. Wolf (Heinz Engelmann) whom she has a relationship with.

Schroeder’s direction is definitely stylish as it is shot on location in Paris and Ibiza as owes a lot to many of the visual aesthetics of the French New Wave with its usage of hand-held cameras. The usage of close-ups and medium shots would play into the interaction of the characters while there are also some wide shots to showcase the scope of the locations including many of the rocky beaches of Ibiza. Notably as those scenes on the beaches showcase Stefan and Estelle engage in nude sunbathing near their villa where they spend time having sex, cooking, or doing drugs as it would later devolve into hard drugs such as heroin. The third act is where things become grimy with Stefan getting a taste of the drug as he becomes addicted where the film definitely changes it tone into something darker as it relates to what was happening in the 1960s. Much of the film is told from Stefan’s perspective until the third act as it is told from the perspective of his friend Charlie (Michel Chanderli) who warned Stefan about Estelle and her dependency on drugs. Overall, Schroeder crafts a visually-entrancing but underwhelming film about two lovers embarking on the many ideas of the late 1960s.

Cinematographer Nestor Almendros does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography from the usage of natural lighting for many of the film’s daytime exterior scenes in Ibiza as well as its more low-key look for the scenes in Paris as well as the usage of available and natural lighting for some of the scenes at night. Editors Denise de Casabianca and Rita Roland do nice work with the editing as it has elements of jump-cuts to play into some of the drug trips as well as some of the livelier moments in the film. Art directors Nestor Almendros and Fran Lewis do fantastic work with the look of the villa as well as a bar that Stefan works at including some of the places he goes to in Paris. The sound work of Jack Jullian and Robert Pouret is terrific for its natural approach to the sound in the way the cafes and some of the bars that the characters go to including how music sounds at a party. The film’s music by Pink Floyd as it is one of the film’s highlights for its mixture of psychedelic rock, space-rock, blues, tribal music, and other kinds of experimental music as it include a few instrumentals in the mix as it is one of the band’s more overlooked recordings during their early years in the late 1960s.

The film’s superb cast include some notable small roles from Georges Montant as a drug dealer, Louise Wink as a friend of Estelle in Cathy, famed photography Henry Wolf as himself in a cameo in Paris, Michel Chanderli as Stefan’s Parisian friend Charlie who is a thief as he knows Estelle and isn’t fond of her, and Heinz Engelmann as Dr. Ernesto Wolf as a former Nazi living in Ibiza who has a relationship with Estelle as he is also a part-time dealer. Finally, there’s the duo of Mimsy Farmer and Klaus Grunberg in stellar performances in their respective roles as Estelle and Stefan with Farmer being this vivacious woman who is also very destructive in her drug use while Grunberg is more restrained as he becomes concerned only to be consumed by the world of drugs.

More is a solid though flawed film from Barbet Schroeder. Despite its gorgeous visuals by Nestor Almendros, a riveting soundtrack by Pink Floyd, and some whimsical moments in the film. It’s a film that lacks a strong story to really support its visuals and ideas while it often acts as a product of its time. In the end, More is a terrific film from Barbet Schroeder.

Barbet Schroeder Films: (La Vallee) – (General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait) – (Maitresse) – (Koko: A Talking Gorilla) – (Tricheurs) – (The Charles Bukowski Tapes) – (Barfly) – (Reversal of Fortune) – (Single White Female) – (Kiss of Death) – (Before and After) – (Desperate Measures) – (Our Lady of the Assassins) – (Murder by Numbers) – (Terror’s Advocate) – (Inju: The Beast in the Shadow) – (Amnesia)

© thevoid99 2018


Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing this after reading what you said. I'll keep in mind mesmerising but flawed.

thevoid99 said...

@vinnieh-My only reason in wanting to see it was just to hear the music by Pink Floyd as it's one of their more underrated recordings as it's often overlooked when it comes to anything they did before Dark Side of the Moon as that's become an album I'm tired of hearing about.