Our high-octane escapade continues as in the last episode we tackled the 1971 cult classic Vanishing Point. In fact, this episode is best seen as a first part of a nested double bill within this series, as it is paired up with a movie that – at least from where I am sitting – is a love letter to Sarafian’s seminal classic, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. But more on that in a few days.
Meanwhile – and I mentioned this on the recording – I wasn’t exactly planning to do an episode on Vanishing Point because to me it seemed like trying to do an episode on The Godfather or Taxi Driver. I honestly believed this is considered a classic, which doesn’t quite agree with the format of the show. But it turns out that especially younger audiences seem unaware of this absolute masterpiece, so it actually made sense to stage a conversation about this movie. Naturally, I don’t really need an excuse to rewatch some of my childhood favourites, though I occasionally need a prompt because otherwise these movies I love so much would continue languishing on my shelf forever.
Interestingly, following well over a decade since I last saw it, I saw Vanishing Point in a completely different light on this particular occasion. It still is a timeless masterpiece and one of my all-time favourites but I saw a lot of my own life reflected in this movie, which is something I now wholeheartedly promise to put down in writing as a separate article. Hold me to that.
In any case, I had an absolute blast hosting this episode where we had a truly illuminating conversation about the place of Vanishing Point in the landscape of popular culture. We talked about the way Kowalski was cast and written, Sarafian’s disappointing directorial career despite the success of this movie, the film’s own cultural messaging and social commentary and much more. The movie is a lightning in a bottle and definitely demands a conversation, especially now – 50 years after its release. And I hope we did this movie justice.
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