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April 22, 2014

Hallucination Strip

hallucination strip poster.jpg

Roma Drogata: a polizia non puo intervenire
Lucio Marcacinna - 1975
Raro Video BD Region A

Hallucination Strip is one of those odd films best appreciated by the more curious cinephile. How odd? This was the first film Bud Cort made, almost five years after Harold and Maude. Even with facial hair, Cort's wide eyes and baby face hadn't changed much since his onscreen fling with Ruth Gordon. Cort's filmography up to that point had several unconventional films, notably Brewster McCloud, so being in an Italian crime drama that take a break for an LSD trip doesn't seem like such a stretch.

Weirdly enough, there is Robert Altman;s French connection from Images here, Marcel Bozzuffi as the cop with an eye on Cort, mostly in the hopes of nabbing Rome's bigger drug dealers. Too bad Altman wasn't on the set of this film. Just having two names from two films that defined Hollywood in in the early Seventies can't make Hallucination Strip more than a film that is neither bad enough, nor bold enough to even be considered cinema maudit.

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This is the only film by cowriter and director Lucio Marcaccini. As reported by editor Giulio Berruti, Marcaccini seemed to be adrift on his own set. Maybe someone will get Bud Cort to relay his own version of the making of this film. In the meantime, Berruti's story is of an editor for a small production company, who is asked by the producer to "stitch" a film together, and finds himself occasionally advising the novice director. Marcaccini also reportedly produced the film with his own money. The only consistent information about Marcaccini is that he made this film. His stint as an assistant on Garden of the Finzi-Continis and a couple other films is not documented.

It could be that some of the basic story ideas were percolating in Marcaccini's mind well before he had the opportunity to make the film. Certainly, by 1975, making a film about rich high school kids smoking very fat jays and going on bad LSD trips was hardly topical. Add to that a scene of body painting, some performance art, a bit of consciousness raising, and you have a film that might have seemed marginally more "with it" had it been made in 1968. Bozzuffi is Marcaccini's proxy here, disapproving of the drug taking, and questioning the kids' politics, but also taking the parents to task for being too self-involved to really know what their children are up to. In keeping with that beloved cinematic tradition, the high school kids all look like they've all past their 21st birthday.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at April 22, 2014 09:03 AM