Film description
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dir. Miloš Forman / USA, West Germany 1979 / 121’
subtitles: Polish


John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D’Angelo, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, Don Dacus


David di Donatello Awards 1979 – best director in foreign film, best soundtrack in foreign film

Film description

Miloš Forman finally adapted the musical Hair 12 years after its stage premiere, when all that remained of flower children were memories. It would be pointless to search for nostalgia or longing for youth in this film. Hair, like nearly all of the American films by the director, an émigré from Communist Czechoslovakia, is the story of a deep and irresistible need for freedom and the individual struggle with the system resolved on limiting that liberty.

Forman expunges the story’s stage roots and takes Hair on location. The opening static shots show a boring Oklahoma town, which Claude Bukowski is leaving for New York to register for the draft. In the metropolis, he meets a group of hippies protesting against the Vietnam War, enjoying free love, getting high and generally rebelling against everything. Here, the plot becomes dynamic, with dancing and singing filling the screen.

Forman clearly sympathizes with the hippie ideals, but does not attempt to hide their carelessness, irresponsibility and the tragedy of their fate. Hair continues to be much more than a musical with catchy tunes. Today, when conformity rules and most of us bow before the system without a word of objection, the film’s final scenes remind us that there continue to be things worth fighting for.

Bartosz Żurawiecki

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