Glen and Randa (1971)

Article 3622 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-30-2011
Posting Date: 7-15-2011
Directed by Jim McBride
Featuring Steve Curry, Shelley Plimpton, Woody Chambliss
Country: USA
What it is: Post-apocalyptic art film

It’s forty years after the apocalypse. Two young people leave their colony of scavengers to search for a city called Metropolis, which they heard about from a comic book.

This movie opens with two naked young people in the woods finding a car in a tree. This is the kind of beginning that always intrigues me, and I found myself pulled into this slow and melancholy post-apocalyptic film. It’s perhaps the movie that most gives me the sense that it really does take place after a great disaster has nearly depopulated the world. The characters seem barely alive, lost and mostly purposeless. Only Glen seems really driven, but his quest is impossible and foolhardy. The movie is an art-film; there’s no real narrative drive, and much of what happens unfolds in discrete setpieces bookended by blackouts. It’s not for everyone; in fact, it may be for very few people indeed, since its rating of 3.0 on IMDB indicates that a lot of people don’t like the movie at all. Yet, I find some of the setpieces and moments indelible; the scene of Glen and the fisherman staring at the sunset, the scene where Randa recklessly squanders most of the matches they carry, and, my favorite moment, the scene where Glen and Randa climb a mountain only to find another mountain on the other side. To my eyes, the ending is nearly perfect. If it works for you, you might find it haunting, as I did. If not, this will be a waste of your time.


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