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EXPOSED

USA, 1983 (MIFF 1984)

Director: James Toback

James Toback's third film is a breathless, dazzling see-saw between illusion and obsession, love and death, role and self—the major themes of Bunuel and Godard, with a dash of Fuller—as psychology is actually turned into plot, Paris, New York and the Wisconsin countryside are the variable.

Loci for a romantic young woman's social rise whilst he undergoes a stunning transformation of her outer and inner self, The former farm girl Elizabeth drops out of college, defies her parents and goes to New York, to lead an independent life as a pianist. Instead she is robbed and reduced to working as a waitress (her parent's worst prediction). Thence she is "discovered" by a photographer and becomes an internationally celebrated cover girl, object of her own and others' desires.

Into her life comes a mercurial violinist who pays insistent mention to her. She follows him to Paris, only to realize that he is using her in an attempt to avenge the death of his mother, victim of a restaurant bombing. She is drawn into the tracking down of a terrorist gang and its Satanic leader within a network of intrigue, opportunism, hypocrisy and retribution.

Formally and thematically "Exposed" ,/i>is an extraordinary mix and match operation, uniting the fashion milieu with the terrorist ethos, two worlds, two stories—while the music performs its own dance of death in a blend of Bach, Tchaikowsky and pop music. Seen in any context, "Exposed'' is a startling achievement.

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