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Flash Festival Preview, 7-15: '70s Film Groove
Back to 42nd Street with Lustig at Anthology

Promoting "Fear is the Key," Michael Tuchner's 1973 film. Image courtesy Anthology Film archives.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

One summer in 1975, I remember walking down to the Grand Theater (which, need it be said, no longer was) on San Francisco's Mission Street for a marathon of all five "Planet of the Apes" films. While the theaters on 42nd Street may have been similarly grungy, and the atmosphere chaotic, with kids playing and throwing popcorn at each other, the fare often had higher stakes: In my one foray into this sacred terrain, Paul Schrader's paene to unions "Blue Collar," starring Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel, was the sinuous offering.

So when Anthology Film Archives says it is revisiting that epoch tonight through July 25, don't be deceived; the 10 films curated by auteur William Lustig may be humbler in their scope than the Hollywood blockbusters that often crowd more interesting films off the circuit these days, but they are also more nuanced and complex in their themes and their tricky resolutions, if the six films I previewed over the last two weeks, in my own mini-marathon, are any hint.

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