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May 1969: More

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Jan. 1st, 1970 | 08:36 pm

Michael Gothard, who was later to star in Barbet Schroeder's "The Valley (Obscured by Clouds)", is credited by the BFI for a very minor role in Schroeder's first film, "More": a non-speaking part, as a guest at a party attended by the couple whose relationship is the focus of the film. The character, clearly high on drugs, and snatching at something that isn't there, serves as a dumb show for the couple's subsequent descent into drug addiction.

Doubts have been expressed as to whether this is actually Michael Gothard, or someone else.

This scene in "More" was filmed in Ibiza.

Still from More from BFI booklet
Picture from the BFI booklet

Barbetschroeder.com

More is 1969 film. The first directorial effort by Barbet Schroeder, the film became a hit in Europe, and today has now achieved the status of “cult classic.”

Starring Mimsy Farmer and Klaus Grünberg, it is principally set on the sun-drenched Spanish island of Ibiza. A young German student, Stefan, is taking a break from his university studies. He hitchhikes to Paris for some freedom. He says he wants to be warm for a change, to have a chance to see the Sun.

While at a party in Paris, Stefan meets a free-spirited American girl named Estelle. He is instantly drawn to Estelle, and pursues her. He will even eventually follow her to the island of Ibiza. In Ibiza they slowly begin a relationship. Estelle introduces Stefan to many pleasures and freedoms, including taking drugs. Ultimately he will even try heroin, to which he eventually becomes addicted. The results are tragic.

Schroeder has said that the story of More was modelled on the myth of Icarus and Daedalus, “with Estelle representing the Sun”. The film was shot on location by the legendary cinematographer Nestor Almendros, who was to become a long-time collaborator with Schroeder.

More debuted in Cannes at the 22nd Cannes Film Festival, in May of 1969, and the U.S. premiere was in New York in August, 1969.

The film’s musical score was unique for the time, as it was written and performed by the group Pink Floyd, they would later release the music as an album …

Full review

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Vincent Canby: New York Times, 5 August 1969

… In "More" … drugs are simply the casual instruments of fate. Much more important — and interesting — is the manner in which Schroeder and his superb cameraman, Nestor Almendros, visualize the alternating agonies and ecstasies of a fatal love in a warm climate …

"More" … is Schroeder's film, a curiously effective dramatization of the kind of puritan ethic that demands that pleasure be paid for by pain and tragedy. It's 19th-century romance set to a rock tune on a portable cassette tape recorder.

Full review

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Roger Ebert: 24 November 1969

Barbet Schroeder's "More" is a weird, freaky movie about two hedonisitc kids who destroy themselves with drugs … "More" is not, however, a lecture. It's more of a celebration. The message seems to be: Sure, speed kills, but what a way to go. After some disorganized scenes in Europe, the two kids leave to spend the summer on a Mediterranean island. They lie nude in the sun (forever, it seems); get involved in a Nazi intrigue that's never made clear; experiment with pot, acid, speed, heroin and banana peels … "More," interestingly enough, never pretends to be inside the character's heads. It watches the trips from outside. That's a relief but not a solution ...

Full review

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New Wave Film.com

… Although dismissed by some critics as an over-indulgent celebration of drug-taking, More in fact proves to be anything but an endorsement of substance abuse. Stefan’s descent from naïve student to hopeless junkie might start out as a thrill-ride but ultimately it ends in a bleak and dusty cemetery. Like Icarus, he flies higher and higher but fails to see the dangers of the sun and comes crashing down to Earth …

Schroeder keeps his distance, maintaining an objective tone that will become a hallmark of his style in later years. He avoids getting carried away with kaleidoscopic lenses and incoherent montages, instead opting for a detached realism, not least in the graphic scenes of drug preparation which were originally cut by the censor but have now been restored.

Full review

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Gary Couzens: DVD Video Review, 10 February 2004

Nestor Almendros was the cinematographer. This was his third dramatic feature for the Spanish-born, Cuban-raised DP: he had previously shot some short films and La collectionneuse for Eric Rohmer and the European-based Roger Corman production The Wild Racers. Almendros and Schroeder got on well, and they worked together again on the The Valley Obscured by Clouds (similarly-themed to More, though shot in New Guinea), Maitresse and the documentaries General Idi Amin Dada and Koko the Talking Gorilla.

Even this early in his career, Almendros’s classical style of cinematography was already well developed. There’s an insistence on natural light, or at least light that has a justified source. The early scenes of the Paris streets at night time, for example, were shot with a new fast film stock and the only lighting were the available streetlights.

Artificial light that isn’t part of the scene itself is used sparingly, to augment what is there naturally. Almendros’s work adds considerably to a film, which does establish a mood … Almendros’s policy was that if something was in shadow in real life than it should be so on screen, and the last thing he wanted to do was overlight unnaturally …

Full review

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Horrorview

Schroeder’s debut feature “More” stands today as a visually true time capsule summary of the end of the hippie dream, beautifully photographed from natural light sources by Rohmer’s cinematographer Néstor Almendros, and made in the twilight shadow of the May ‘68 Paris uprising …

“More” is a provocative, slightly awkward, semi-improvised modern day recasting of the Icarus myth, in which the heroin-induced allure of sexual freedom and lack of responsibility represented by Estelle’s enticing gamine luminosity, attracts the addictive, sun worshipping personality of the film’s often unlike-able male protagonist like the doomed character from the Greek myth, and similarly results in his own flight from being a lost seeker on student-crowded Parisian streets towards casual crash-and-burn destruction from heroin addiction, alone and suicidal on the sparsely populated island resort so relentlessly baked by a remorseless sun.

Full review
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