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NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND

  And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? Well, which is better?---Fyodor Dostoevsky ---Notes from Underground There are certain people of whom it is difficult to say anything which will at once throw them into relief—in other words, describe them graphically in their typical characteristics. These are they who are generally known as “commonplace people,” and this class comprises, of course, the immense majority of mankind. Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself. For instance, when the whole essence of an ordinary person’s nature lies in his perpetual and unchangeable commonplaceness; and when in spite of all his endeavours to do something out of the common, this person ends, eventually, by remaining in his unbroken line of routine—. I think such an individual really does become a type of hi

Five Easy Pieces (1970)


  
"We'd had a revelation. This was the direction American movies should take: Into idiosyncratic characters, into dialogue with an ear for the vulgar and the literate, into a plot free to surprise us about the characters, into an existential ending"
A disaffected man seeks a sense of identity in one of the key films of Hollywood's 1970s New Wave. Once a promising pianist from a family of classical musicians, Bobby Eroica Dupea (Jack Nicholson, in his first major starring role) leads a blue-collar life as an oil rigger, living with needy waitress girlfriend Rayette (Karen Black) and bowling with their friends Elton (Billy "Green" Bush) and Stoney (Fannie Flagg).

Feeling suffocated by responsibilities, Bobby seeks out his sister, Tita (Lois Smith), and, discovering that his father is gravely ill, he reluctantly heads back to the patrician family compound in Puget Sound with a pregnant Rayette in tow. After a road trip featuring a harangue from hitchhiker Palm (Helena Kallianiotes) about filth, and Bobby's ill-fated attempt to make a menu substitution in a diner, he tucks Rayette away in a motel before heading to the house. There Bobby seduces his uptight brother Carl's cultured fiancĂ©e, Catherine (Susan Anspach), but Rayette shows up unexpectedly. As Rayette's crassness collides with the snobbery of the Dupea circle, Bobby loses patience with both. 


"A key American film of its era, Bob Rafelson's moody, character-driven tale of an upper-middle class dropout established Jack Nicholson as the foremost actor of his generation in articulating the values of the new generation."
One of the few honest American films about social class, downward mobility, family, and alienation, “Five Easy Pieces” is more of a character and mood piece than a straightforward, plot-driven narrative. Considering that the film was about alienation, marked by a pessimistic mood, and influenced by European filmmaking in approach and style, the movie was remarkably popular at the box-office, benefiting from the success of the a cycle of youth movies at the time.

Emanuel Levy


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Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson on Five Easy Pieces’ Diner Scene


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