Agent Lynch’s Top 10 Films of the 60s (Part I)

1. Belle de Jour (1967) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061395/

Directed by Luis Bunuel this film had so many vivid scenes I thought about them for days afterward. It was only on my third watch that I realised it was completely without music. The story is that Severine (Catherine Deneuve) is very cool physically, chaste with her husband, but with a secret sexual fantasy world, which leads her to becoming an afternoon prostitute. The film opens with the haunting sound of bells attached to a horse and trap and the image of Deneuve sitting there in her bright red coat and the flicker of a pleasure in her face as pain is inflicted on her are such startling images.

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Her wardrobe was designed by Yves Saint Laurent, all military hard edges and straight lines hinting at her own restrictive personal exterior. After seeing the film I spent ages hunting down a black PVC mac as an homage only to have it stolen from a party weeks later. Stylish thieving bastards.

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Oh when looking for images I found this great blog http://clothesonfilm.com/belle-de-jour-sex-and-alienation/4470/

2. Barbarella (1968) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062711/

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Roger Vadim who directed this film was a philanderer of epically beautiful women of Gainsbourg proportions managing to have a children with Deneuve, Jane Fonda and having an affair with Bardot. Legend. Here they are backstage with their child.

The story goes that the role of Barbarella was originally intended for Bardot. Don’t get me wrong I adore Bardot but the knowing campness of Fonda’s performance really makes this film for me. Well that along with fantastical sets, brilliant soundtrack by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox and Paco Rabanne costumes- which apparently were very uncomfortable to wear.

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This film inspired one of my favourite performances, I owe so much of my styling inspiration to this film. On multiple watches I am still drawn in by the wonderful atmosphere, the out and out 60s of it all. Anita Pallenburg even makes an appearance as The Great Tyrant, although hilariously dubbed. Also the opening credits  have to be one of the best of all time! http://www.artofthetitle.com/2009/01/23/barbarella/ / This film makes me nostalgic for the creativeness of film sets pre-computer graphics, I t must have been so thrilling for the actors with not a green screen in sight.

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In Fonda’s autobiography she explained how terrified she was filming on a piece of glass 20ft above the studio. Her gleeful leg kicks are testament to her fear defying acting skills. A zero gravity striptease remains one of my lifetime ambitions.

3. The Tenth Victim (1965) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059095/mediaindex

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Definitely one of my top 5 Icons of the 60s, Ursula Andres is the star of this campy classic. As mentioned previously her ‘killer bra’ scene inspired my Studio 54 show. Co-starring Marcello Mastroianni of ’La Dolce Vita’ fame it’s a futuristic romp around Rome where the world’s population are divided into ‘Hunters and Victims’, in a survival of the fittest population control exercise. Andres being ,of course, one of the fittest and best Hunters, Ursula I salute you in your hotness!

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I loved the 60s vision of the future in this film, un-constricting clothing, flat white Courreges style boots, cut out clothes. During the 60s there was real optimism about the future, as the Cold War drew to an end and leaps were made in technology and manufacturing. If only the actual future looked more like the 60s vision! Sigh. Where have the catsuits, helmets and beehives gone?

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I would recommend this excellent book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fear-Fashion-Cold-Jane-Pavitt/dp/1851775447 that was bought for me at the brilliant V&A exhibition a last year which explains how political and social issues influenced 60s fashion.

4.The Graduate (1967) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061722/

I remember vividly watching this film one rainy Saturday afternoon with my Dad. Probably not the most suitable film for a 10 year old, but I can’t remember being embarrassed by the sexy bits. In fact isn’t there a burlesque dancer in the nightclub scene? Dad you planted the seed early!

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This shot of Anne Bancroft’s leg has surely got to be one of the most iconic sexy images of all time?  You may not notice it now but the montage scene of Ben whiling away his days at his parents’ house was groundbreaking in the way they had one shot leading to the other. There is a great article on the techniques that Mike Nichols used here http://www.filmsite.org/grad.html

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The music too is amazing, ‘Sound of Silence’ is one of my favourite songs perfect listlessness and then crescendo. The Graduate has to be one of the best coming-of-age films, and the look on their faces as the bus at the end pulls away is cinematic gold.

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Odd Fact: Anne Bancroft (Mrs Robinson) was only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman when the Graduate was filmed.

2001: Space Odyssey (1968) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/

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It’s hard to believe that this film was made in 1968 it still doesn’t look dated and quite frankly out classes pretty much every other science fiction film ever made. I first saw this film aged 19 when I ran away to New York  for the summer between my First and Second Year at Bristol. Me and my flatmate Andrew went to see it an open air screening in Bryant Park. It was electric and I remember everyone cheering a clapping as the monkeys (spoiler alert!) learnt how to make fire.

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The film is visionary and when it was released at the height of the space race it must have felt like the technology in this film was literally just a few decades away (I wish).  The images that stay with me are the cylindrical running track, and the that  amazing under lit floor in the final scene complete with baroque furniture.  Even though I don’t fully understand the ending I love it, the cyclical nature of space, life, giant babies and all.

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Performance (1970- let me have it will you?)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066214/

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I only actually saw this film for the first time last year. I like 60s films set in London and I loved seeing the ramshackleness of all the giant houses in Nottinghill.  This film paved the way for so many British Gangster films, you can clearly see some borrowed camera techniques in the brilliant Gangster No. 1 with Paul Bettany. Charles Fox who plays the gangster on the run spent months in South London hanging out with real crime lords to get into character, he was previously known  for romantic leading man roles. I think he did a pretty good  job, saying that my only experience of South London gangsters has been seeing them in film, played by actors.

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e-jagger,0I love the bohemian world Anita Pallenburg and Mick Jaggers’ character live in, they were even rumoured to have had an affair.

This film to me captures a zeitgeist if the hippy 60s living alongside a still brutal underworld and I love the scene of Jagger rocking out with a fluorescent light and using a monolithic synthesizer .  There is also a total disregard for continuity when Charles Fox covers himself in red paint, its almost laughable. But the ending as the car drives away did make me go ‘Ohhhhhhhh!’.

Part II coming soon. I’m off to Bestival tomorrow whoo hoo.

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