By the Book
The American Friend
Directed by Wim Wenders • 1977 • Germany
Starring Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz
Wim Wenders pays loving homage to rough-and-tumble Hollywood film noir with THE AMERICAN FRIEND, a loose adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Ripley’s Game.” Dennis Hopper oozes quirky menace as an amoral American art dealer who entangles a terminally ill German everyman, played by Bruno Ganz, in a seedy criminal underworld as revenge for a personal slight, but when the two become embroiled in an ever-deepening murder plot, they form an unlikely bond. Filmed on location in Hamburg and Paris, with some scenes shot in grimy, late-seventies New York City, Wenders’ international breakout is a stripped-down crime story that mixes West German and American film flavors, and it features cameos by filmmakers Jean Eustache, Samuel Fuller, and Nicholas Ray.
Up Next in By the Book
Directed by Larisa Shepitko • 1977 • Soviet Union
Starring Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergei Yakovlev
The crowning triumph of a career cut tragically short, the final film from Larisa Shepitko won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and went on to be hailed as one of the ...
Directed by Martin Rosen • 1978 • United Kingdom
Starring John Hurt, Richard Briers, Michael Graham-Cox
With this passion project, screenwriter-producer-director Martin Rosen brilliantly achieved what had been thought nearly impossible: a faithful big-screen adaptation of Richard Adams’s classic...
Empire of Passion
Directed by Nagisa Oshima • 1978 • Japan
Starring Tatsuya Fuji, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Takahiro Tamura
With an arresting mix of eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution in EMPIRE OF PASSION (AI NO BOREI). Set in a Japanese village at the end of ...