Peter Bogdanovich
Stories & Ideas

Wed 25 Jan 2023

Everyone has their reasons: The films of Peter Bogdanovich

Film Melbourne Cinémathèque Retrospective
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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society

Notes for the 21 June – 5 July 2023 Melbourne Cinémathèque program.

Born in upstate New York to immigrants who had fled the Nazis, Peter Bogdanovich (1939–2022) will always be remembered as the notable American auteur who took the French path from criticism to filmmaking. An obsessive filmgoer and sometime stage actor who, as a teenager, had studied with Stella Adler, he wrote monographs on Welles, Hawks, Ford and Hitchcock and also mounted a series of influential retrospectives at MoMA in the 1960s. Decamping to California, he got his Hollywood break assisting B-movie king Roger Corman on The Wild Angels (1966) before directing, with Corman’s help, his acclaimed debut, Targets (1968).

Like those of the ex-Cahiers du cinéma auteurs he admired, his films rework the cinematic past – from the black-and-white paeans of The Last Picture Show (1971) and Paper Moon (1973) to the screwball homages of What’s Up, Doc? (1972) and his very late return to the form, Squirrels to the Nuts (2022) – but transcend their inspirations to create something wholly original. Peter Tonguette describes him as a master of subjective cinema: “Everyone has their reasons in Bogdanovich’s universe, and we see those reasons clearly because he shows us the world from ‘everyone’s’ perspective.” Our six-film retrospective takes in some of Bogdanovich’s best-known films but also reappraises titles unfairly treated on release (At Long Last Love, 1975), critically acclaimed but otherwise ignored (the Cassavetesian Saint Jack, 1979) or even butchered in their first run (Squirrels to the Nuts being the director’s cut of 2014’s She’s Funny That Way). In short, both newcomers and seasoned fans will find much to enjoy and explore.


Everyone has their reasons: The films of Peter Bogdanovich

Targets (1968) – Wed 21 Jun, 7pm
The Last Picture Show (1971) – Wed 21 Jun, 8.50pm
What's Up, Doc? (1972) – Wed 28 Jun, 7pm
Squirrels to the Nuts (2014/2022) – Wed 28 Jun, 8.50pm
Saint Jack (1979) – Wed 5 Jul, 7pm
At Long Last Love (1975) – Wed 5 Jul, 9.05pm

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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

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