HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Lions Love LA LA Land
Year: 1969
Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Viva, James Rado, Gerome Ragni, Shirley Clarke, Carlos Clarens, Eddie Constantine, Max Laemmle, Steve Kenis, Hal Landers, Peter Bogdanovich, Billie Dixon, Richard Bright, Jim Morrison, Rip Torn, Agnès Varda, Andy Warhol
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: After attending a performance of Michael McClure's play The Beard, three friends who live together in a pad in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles return there, where they are reluctant to leave given they can watch all the television they need to get a window on the world. It is early June 1968, and the news is full of Senator Robert Kennedy, who is expected to make a bid for the Presidency soon, though the trio - Viva (Viva), Jim (James Rado) and Jerry (Gerome Ragni) - are not really engaged with politics, preferring to get high and drink Dr Pepper in between acting jobs. But as director Shirley Clarke arrives to make a film, real life intrudes...

Lions Love was the sort of self-indulgent counterculture movie that gave self-indulgence a bad name, or at least it did if you listened to the item's naysayers, who have numbered a fair few as it has been revived intermittently down the years, firstly because it featured Andy Warhol superstar Viva, then because director Shirley Clarke had a revival of interest in her work, and later because director Agnès Varda enjoyed precisely the same thing, in the last few years of her life as she lived long enough, and actively enough, to pick up a wide selection of new fans. She was certainly prolific, but you could tell here documentary was her style.

Lions Love was a mixture of improvised drama and cinema verite, combining actual news footage, apparently from the week Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, with scenes of the main trio lounging around in bed, in the swimming pool, or in front of the TV set. Clarke did not actually take up a huge amount of the near-two-hour running time, relegated mostly to the early sequences as she flies in from New York to undergo a culture shock as she finds Los Angeles disappointingly vapid, though this is supposed to have us believe she would be so disappointed she would attempt suicide, which seems far out of character for such a pragmatic woman.

That may be why, in the most famous part, Clarke is supposed to be downing sleeping pills in an overdose (washed down with Dr Pepper - if this was product placement, gee, they must have been thrilled) when she tells Varda she would never do this, she has a daughter she would never leave, so Varda puts on Clarke's blouse and jewellery and plays out the scene on the bed herself. Then, as if recognising this is getting truly ridiculous, Shirley swaps clothes with her director again and perfunctorily goes through the motions of pretending to kill herself. There's breaking the fourth wall and there's treating it with contempt, and you are not sure which is happening here, but it is assuredly arresting and a break from the hippy burbles of the central threesome.

Viva had fallen out with Warhol by this point, and this was intended as a new break for her, but naturally as with most of his sixties circle you either ended up dead within it or obscure without it, and for Viva it was the latter - perhaps these days she's best known as the mother of indie star Gaby Hoffman. As for Jim and Jerry, their claim to fame was not this movie either, it was writing the classic hippy musical Hair which is still revived all these decades later, but again they struggled to make much influence on the culture afterwards. Better one megahit than none, of course. If you like a hangout flick, this is a perfect example from a hangout decade, though the horrors of the television news insist on intruding at regular intervals and bringing the idea you can carry on doing very little forever crashing back down to earth. Bizarrely, Warhol was shot the same week as Kennedy, though he survived, and this is mentioned here too, the violence of the world rendering the dream of peace and love worryingly unsustainable.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 176 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: