Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 66: Fri Mar 6

The Visitors (Kazan, 1972): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9pm

An extremely rare (35mm) screening of a largely unseen Elia Kazan film. This movie, in the Kazan season, can also be seen on March 14th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
On the evidence of Elia Kazan's recent autobiography, it is this low-budget, independent feature of 1972, shot in super-16-millimeter, that comprises his true last (or at least last personal) film, rather than The Last Tycoon, which he embarked on mainly for the money four years later. Scripted by Kazan's son Chris and shot in and around their Connecticut homes, the film offers some disturbing yet relevant echoes of themes in other Kazan pictures: the “pacifist” who finds himself driven to violence and the hatred-provoked hero who squeals on his buddies (reflecting Kazan's naming of names to the HUAC in the early 50s). Two Vietnam vets released from Leavenworth after serving time for the rape and murder of a Vietnamese woman go to visit the former buddy who turned them in, who is now living with his girlfriend and their young son in the home of her father, a macho, alcoholic novelist. There's a lot of prolonged waiting around while the two convicts circle their prey and prepare their revenge. While Kazan makes the most of the ambiguous personalities involved—he is especially good with his James Dean-ish “discovery” Steve Railsback, as well as with an early James Woods performance—the abrasive sexism of the overall conception, which recalls Peckinpah's Straw Dogs in spots, makes this the most unpleasant of all his films. But it deserves much more attention than it got when it came out, and showcases Kazan's strengths as well as his weaknesses.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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