A Safe Place (1971)

Article 4051 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-6-2012
Directed by Henry Jaglom
Featuring Tuesday Weld, Orson Welles, Jack Nicholson
Country: USA
What it is: Art film

A woman deals with her two lovers, as well as memories of her encounter with a magician and her having been able to fly.

When movies as singularly personal as this come along, it’s often difficult to discuss the fantastic content, as there doesn’t seem to be an objective reality to use as a reference point. Did the woman really fly? Does she end up flying at the end of the movie? Does the magician really make anything disappear? And, on the movie’s terms, does it even matter whether these questions have answers? It can also be difficult to give them meaningful reviews, especially if the movie remains elusive to the reviewer. Did the filmmaker fail to make himself understood, or is there simply too great a distance between the individual minds? So I’m just going to settle with saying that, even though I can’t point to anything specific about the movie that doesn’t work, I found myself a little bored by the whole affair, even though I do recognize why others might be entranced by it. In some ways, Jaglom’s work reminds me of the work of Fellini, but Fellini can fascinate me consistently, whereas Jaglom can’t. Still, I do have to admire a man who can gather this amount of talent for his first movie; on top of the three performers listed above, the movie also features Firesign Theater’s Phil Proctor.


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