Peter Bogdanovich's classic debut feature (1971) is an evocative, bittersweet coming-of-age set in small-town Texas in the early 1950s, starring a young Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
A fond homage to the classic period of Hollywood cinema, The Last Picture Show is a deeply penetrating modern classic set in 1950s small town Anarene, Texas, where there isn't much to do except shoot some pool or hang out at the diner or the cinema. Best friends Sonny Crawford (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane Jackson (Jeff Bridges) shift around the town grappling with the weight of approaching adulthood and the realisation that their dusty hometown is dying, as people move to bigger cities for better lives. Lyrical and nostalgic, Robert Surtees' gorgeous black-and-white cinematography perfectly captures the flat, weathered town. The young cast give intensely affecting performances. In her first film role, Cybill Shepherd exudes a calculated, cold sexuality as Duane's glacial girlfriend Jacy. The considered compositions recall John Ford's Grapes of Wrath and even Welles' Citizen Kane. Utterly moving, this subtle, elegant film is one of the best coming-of-age films Hollywood has ever turned out.