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The American Friend

March 12 @ 6:00 pm

Playing in the CCA Cinema

Part of CCA’s monthly Closer Looks film discussion series

(United States, 1977)/ Selected by David N. Meyer

“Wim Wenders best films are astonishing hybrids of American energy and European artiness. And this is Wender’s finest, though among his least-known. For the only time in his career, Wenders renounced self-consciousness and devoted himself to plot, character, cinematography and suspense. 

Tom Ripley was the brilliant misanthropic novelist Patricia Highsmith’s favorite character: she wrote five Ripley books! Most movie audiences know only her first, The Talented Mr. Ripley, which presented Ripley as a cuddly murderer-by-accident. That’s not Highsmith’s vision. She wrote Ripley as the most dangerous person on Earth, a charming sociopath who always gets away with it.

In this, Wenders’ adaption of her Ripley’s Game, Dennis Hopper perfectly incarnates Ripley as a stylish, rootless hustler with the attention span of a gnat, the arrogance of a vampire and the aggressive instincts of a wolverine in a, layered, subtle performance – the best work of Hopper’s career. Confronting Hopper is Bruno Ganz as a self-contained, Old World craftsman seeking a safe life. Hopper confronts his dread by laying waste to everything in his path; Ganz hides from his mortality by creating objects that endure. They collide and the tale, with all its lethal consequences, is launched.

Somehow Wenders found a Bernard Herrmann – Hitchcock’s composer – score that adds profound suspense. Cinematographer Robby Müller, known for his work with Jim Jarmusch and Lars von Trier, shoots in rich, saturated colors – the visual equivalent of Herrmann’s score. This is pure Patricia Highsmith/ Wim Wenders: an unpredictable plot, unforgettable characters, perverse situations, contradictory human relations, gripping action sequences and sly humor. Shining through it all is Dennis Hopper, in the role he was born to play.”

– David N. Meyer

Director: Wim Wenders
Writers: Patricia Highsmith, Wim Wenders
Features: Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, Lisa Kreuzer
Run time: 2 hr. 8 min.
Film: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Language: English

Closer Looks is an in-depth cinema series curated by the award-winning filmmaker and editor Paul Barnes, film critic and writer David N. Meyer, and founder/programmer of local microcinema No Name Cinema, Justin Clifford Rhody. The series showcases a broad range of eras, regions, and subjects, all unified by their integral contribution to the history of cinema as an art form. Each film screening is followed by an in-depth overview and audience conversation by the presenters to contextualize and explore the importance of the evening’s film.


Note: Tickets are only $3.00 for EBT cardholders

1050 Old Pecos Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87505 United States
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