Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Carnal Knowledge

Mike Nichols is still making films that matter and in this day and age that is an accomplishment in and of itself. His recents hits with CLOSER and CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR certainly bring that point home even if he did make WOLF. CARNAL KNOWLEDGE was his follow up to CATCH 22 and is a somewhat autobiographical account of his and friend/script writer Jules Feiffer's sexual life. It's hard to tell who's who between Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkle but either way you slice it it's a painful ride. This account captures a few decades of troubled relationships and while funny at times it is a desperate and despairing look at just how fucked up people's lives can get. This was pretty heavy stuff for 1971 and the scene where Nicholson gives his slideshow presentation of PARADE OF THE BALLBUSTERS will both make you cringe and piss yourself. Candice Bergen is fantastic here and Ann-Margaret has a fight scene with Nicholson unlike anything ever caught on film. They actually both lost their voices for almost a week after shooting this scene! This also marks the debut of Carol Kane and while slightly dated, only in visual style, the themes examined here are universal.


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