Lawrence Schiller

Mar 8, 2016

Shot during a key moment in film history, when Hollywood had just granted entry to the counter-culture without really understanding what it had grabbed hold of, this 16mm feature documents the rebel filmmaker Dennis Hopper, still reeling from his two-week marriage to singer Michelle Phillips, as he ruminates on his lonely, fish-out-of-water Kansas upbringing, and goes on to pontificate about girls, grass, art, society, and what drew him to photography. All the while he’s entertaining ladies — sometimes in a carnal way — shooting off guns, and rambling around the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan house in Taos where he and various others are editing The Last MovieTo us, The American Dreamer is interesting not just as a document of the early 70s but as an example of a documentary that challenges our idea of what documentaries should be. Q&A with director Lawrence Schiller followed the screening.