As mentioned I've now made the oceanic leap, but before doing so I was thankfully coerced into seeing Rafelson's small scale masterpiece, Five Easy Pieces. Killing time in Garulhos this morning, I tried to concoct a theory connecting the old world with the new, mapping it onto Nicholson's conflict as he tries to escape the (European) legacy of his family's classical music burden by whooping it up in a new (American) fashion in California's ahistorical playground.
I like the theory, largely because I was working on it having freshly arrived after a sleepless night on the wide American continent. However, in some ways it seems a bit European to pontificate thus, and I might as well listen to the American inside me, (there's an American inside us all, that's their secret, those darned Americans (Norte y Sur)), and merely laud it for its brilliance, its wit, its charm, its ability to be a film which is both recklessly entertaining and worthy of the most outlandish theories; a movie made for adults, not kids, and unashamedly so, from its dialogue to its cinematography to its unerringly acute sense of humour. And for Jack, giving one of those performances that succeeds in reminding us that there is such a thing as genius in acting. Although it requires a director who appreciates it in order to flower.
(Incidentally a brief look at Rafelson's directing career on IMDB makes it clear that his was one of the great lost Hollywood careers. Whether this is do with his own hedonistic failings, or a system that even as he was hitting his stride was running out of space for the kind of films he was capable of making is one of those debatable questions. But rarely does a director put so many feet right as Rafelson does in this strangely moving tale.)