Thursday, September 19, 2013

An American Hippie in Israel (1972)

Original title: Ha-Trempist

Director: Amos Sefer

Writer: Amos Sefer

Composer: Nachum Heiman

Starring: Asher Tzarfati, Shmuel Wolf, Lily Avidan, Tzila Karney

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Right-On!

Plot:  Incited by a disillusioned young man who has decided to flee from civilization, a group of 4 people go searching for freedom and happiness on an isolated island . When their boat goes astray and they are left without food, their animal instincts take over, bringing the film to its catastrophic end.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah, man, yeah.

On 9/10 I had the pleasure of seeing this on a double bill with GONE WITH THE POPE ().  It was an amazing experience seeing these two films on the big screen AND for the first time.  There was a Q&A after the this picture with Bob from Grindhouse Releasing.  From that I learned that there wasn't any promotional materials made (ie poster) except for handbills and the film was never publicly screened.  The director (who died six years ago) was never able to get it distributed.  In 2010 this was screened in Tel Aviv to great results.  Since then it has become a cult hit in Israel and plays monthly to large audiences and with some of the cast members in attendance at every show.  Over there it's become their ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW () and the crowd yells out the dialogue and everything.  After seeing it, I can see why.  It's out there, man.

It's also a lot of fun.  Put this one in the so-bad-it's-good camp.  The dialogue is simple, bad and weird.  Everyone is dubbed which adds to the fun.  Mike (Tzarfati), the hippie, is amazing.  The other actors are loads of fun, too.  It's mostly just the four but occasionally you get these two guys with silver painted faces dressed in black suits and a hat show up that say nothing and cause trouble.  It's surreal.  You might think you've got it figured out but the inclusion of these two guys doesn't add up by the end of the picture.  It's a real head-scratcher.

My mind is racing and it was only a few hours ago that I saw this (this post is going up a week after the fact, btw).  What had me almost falling out of my seat and rolling in the aisle with laughter (I laughed pretty fucking hard) was a scene where Mike and the only other dude were on the island and the dude, who only spoke Hebrew which Mike couldn't understand a word) was talking.  Mike was flipping out, "I don't get you, man.  I don't understand anything you're saying."  But then Mike starts explaining something to him that he can't understand a word of so that dude would try to reply and Mike would repeat himself with, "I don't get you, man."  This went on for minutes with no edit.  It'll fucking kill you when you see it. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

There's lots of nudity for you boob hounds out there (like me).  The music is great and the songs are fantastic.  If the blu-ray weren't so damned expensive (it's $30 on Amazon at 15% off) I would have ordered my copy already.  I just don't know how often I'm going to watch it but I'll guarantee you when I get it everyone I know will see it.  The party's at my house, man.  Bob at Grindhouse said there are more than 3 hours of extras on the disc.  After the flick they showed us a very brief alternate ending that was off the fucking charts.  It extends the ending by 5 seconds but it's awesome.  They said they would have included it as the ending but the negative was too far gone. You NEED to see this movie but don't watch it by yourself.  Gather the neighbors and pour some drinks because you are going to have one wild ride.  I've got a feeling that this is going to get better every time I watch it.

Thank you, Grindhouse Releasing, for bringing this out for the world to see this 41 year old undiscovered gem and thanks for a great evening. 

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