AMERICANA

USA, 1981 (MIFF 1982)

Director: David Carradine

A Vietnam veteran turns up in a small town in Kansas. Instead of just passing through, he hangs around. He starts to restore a broken-down merry-go-round and, gradually, the town's people become fascinated, then ignore him and, finally, turn on him.

Americana is the first feature film to be directed by David Carradine, one of several actor-sons of John Carradine. Shot in 1973, the film was recently completed, paid for from Carradine's earnings as an actor The simple storyline outlined above is hardly a hint of the film's many virtues. It is a film in which the silence of the main character is a device echoed by a refusal to give the audience formal explanation of what is taking place. The reasons behind the soldier's decision to re-build the merry-go-round are never clear. The effects this obsession has on the town are, however, remarkably drawn. Fear and hostility towards the unknown, intolerance of the strange and unusual: these are the details which are revealed and they contrast ironically with the rather erratic and often pathetic lives of the inhabitants.

David Carradine was right to finish his film. It marks an important debut and an interesting addition to the ranks of those few American directors who are prepared to let things happen with gentle grace.


See also...

THE DAY AFTER TRINITY

The Day After Trinity is about the scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) and his role in producing the first atomic bomb. The film uses newly-declassified government footage, woven together with... More »

EL SALVADOR: ANOTHER VIETNAM

Ei Salvador: Another Vietnam ... investigates the history of the crisis and the forces that have embroiled the U.S. in this Central American conflict. The film paints a disturbing picture: 50 years of... More »

MODERN ROMANCE

“You've heard of a no-win situation? Vietnam. This. They're around. I think we're in one of them.” ... Comedian and filmmaker Albert Brooks - a comedic precursor to Larry David - directs, co-writes an... More »

Variety

The film reverses the roles of and conventions of traditional cinema by confronting representations of sexuality and male/female desire directly, while not abandoning the pleasure(s) of narrative inhe... More »

Fish Heads

In mixed live action and collage animation, this film can be described as a post-Dada work. It was produced and designed by Art and Artie Barnes, songwriters of the punk rock song hit. ... More »

Stiletto

In Stiletto, a woman, Nadja Vidal, searches for the murderer of her sister. This search goes through differing moments of reality, or unreality, that are imbricated within each other in facets of a br... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director