Sorcerer 1977 MA15+
8.30pm, Fri 10 Mar 2023 (121 mins)
Gallery of Modern Art & Cinema A
- Wheelchair Accessible
On the run from the law in their home countries, four strangers toil in dire poverty in a remote Colombian village. When a local oil well explodes, the only way to extinguish its unceasing flame is to blow it out with dynamite. Seeing a chance to escape their circumstances, the four men sign up for the lucrative job of transporting the explosives in two trucks across hundreds of miles of inhospitable jungle terrain. With every jolt of the truck enough to potentially set off the unstable nitroglycerin contained within the dynamite, they are forced to fight against nature and themselves to complete their journey.
Following the groundbreaking successes of The French Connection 1971 and The Exorcist 1973, director William Friedkin took on what would become his most ambitious project to date: an adaptation of the French novel ‘The Wages of Fear’, previously brought to the screen by Henri-Georges Clouzot in 1953. The production was arduous, with months spent filming in the jungles of the Dominican Republic and costs spiralling out of control as the shoot dragged on. The film opened to negative reviews and commercial indifference; released just weeks after the opening of Star Wars 1977, it found little audience and quickly floundered. The failure of the film did irreparable damage to Friedkin’s career – his contract at Universal was torn up and he never again commanded the budgets or prestige of his early films.
And yet, decades after its release, Sorcerer now stands equal to Friedkin’s greatest accomplishments and arguably among the premier films of the Hollywood New Wave. The filmmaker himself agrees, noting: “I felt then and still do that Sorcerer is the best film I’ve made”. Featuring electrifying set pieces and propelled by a pulsating synth score from Tangerine Dream, this is an immersive journey into the abyss – a film of sweat, tension and abject desperation.
Sorcerer will screen from a 2K digital restoration.
MA15+| Medium level violence
- Director: William Friedkin
- Script: Walon Green
- Based on: the novel ‘The Wages of Fear’ by Georges Arnaud
- Cinematographers: John M Stephens, Dick Bush
- Editors: Bud Smith, Robert K Lambert
- Print Source: Park Circus
- Rights: Park Circus
- Shooting Format: 35mm
- Screening Format: 2K DCP
- Year: 1977
- Runtime: 121 minutes
- Country: United States
- Language: English, French, Spanish & German, with English subtitles
- Colour: Colour