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June 1967: Herostratus

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Jan. 1st, 1970 | 03:00 pm

Herostratus was completed in June 1967, after a long editing process by Don Levy. It had its first public screening at the Cinémathèque Française in January 1968.

BFI synopsis.

The film was the opening exhibition at London’s ICA cinema in May 1968.

Per: Stuart Heaney: BFI Screenonline:

"... Herostratus was in its own time largely misunderstood. After only a handful of initial screenings it virtually disappeared from public view altogether, remaining all but forgotten to this day. Yet while admittedly flawed, the film does offer a compelling critique of the failure of 1960s postwar idealism in Britain, an ideal portrayed as having degenerated into neurotic self-gratification.

Originally commissioned in 1962 by the BFI Experimental Film Fund to make a short film, director Don Levy found his ambitions soon exceeded the budget as it expanded into a feature-length production ...

As Levy was at pains to point out, ... the basic plot of the film is just the surface of a deeper narrative, a complex interconnected web of images and sounds designed to trigger emotional reflexes in the viewer's subconscious. Images of postwar urban decay and juxtapositions of burlesque stripteases with carcasses hanging in an abattoir frequently recur. The leitmotif of a deathly pale woman in black leather (played by Levy's wife, Ines) is particularly prevalent: she appears to be some kind of phantasm who plagues Max's mind as it begins to unravel.

Later critics would remark upon Herostratus's apparent influence on Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971) ..."

Full article.


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