“The Swimmer” kicks off the 8th Psychotronic Film Festival

I just love the fact that the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah’s 8th Annual Film Fest kicks off with “The Swimmer,” a dark and beautiful 1968 adaptation of a John Cheever story.

As Ned, Burt Lancaster is at first virile, vigorous, compelling — a man who must be taken seriously for his physical presence and for his apparent accomplishments. But then there’s a sort of existential twist that unravels the well-heeled suburban world where the story takes place (and which Cheever could write about with such bite): Ned decides to work his way back to his own house by swimming in all the neighbors’ pools along the way.

Soon we realize that our initial conceptions of Ned were wrong — and that we are not exactly watching the film that we thought we were. It’s just brilliant that Jim Reed (the founder and programmer of the Psychotronic Films and the Movies Savannah Missed series) has decided to show it on the fairly large screen at Muse Arts Warehouse, where this year’s festival will take place.

In his review in 1968, Roger Ebert called the film “a strange, stylized work, a brilliant and disturbing one.” That characterization holds up more than four decades later.

The screening of “The Swimmer” will be Monday, January 24 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Muse, at 703 Louisville Road, just west of the intersection of Boundary Street. The festival will show two films per night through Saturday the 29th. The full schedule can be found on the film society’s Facebook page and in this article in Connect Savannah: Motorhead, Alice in Wonderland, and — R. Kelly?

1 comment for ““The Swimmer” kicks off the 8th Psychotronic Film Festival

  1. January 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you so much, Bill, for your kind words regarding the upcoming Psychotronic Film Fest at Muse Arts.

    I’m thrilled that you’re thrilled to see THE SWIMMER kick off the event! In many ways, this movie is emblematic of everything I have tried to showcase in the eight years I have curated this ongoing series of overlooked, forgotten or hard-to-categorize cinema from around the world – but it is also one of the “hardest sells” in the roster, as it may not seem on the surface to be as intriguing or multifaceted as it truly is (which is part of its brilliance).

    Burt Lancaster is absolutely phenomenal in this gripping and fairly unforgettable film that has fallen through the cracks of time. When most folks opine about the high water marks of late ’60s American films, few mention THE SWIMMER, which to me is a great shame.

    I realize that many folks who are regular (or semi-regular) attendees of my PFS of SAV film screenings may be surprised to see a Hollywood drama included in this year’s lineup, but I have always strived to include the more stealthily subversive examples of mainstream filmmaking in my series (such as Nicholas Ray’s BIGGER THAN LIFE a few years back).

    It is my fervent wish that this 8th Annual Psychotronic Film Fest ushers in a new era for the society – one in which it will play a much greater role in diversifying and serving the cultural landscape of the greater Savannah area. Your continued enthusiasm for (and support of) my efforts have been integral to spreading the word so far and hopefully that will continue to be the case!

    Yer pal,
    Jim Reed
    PFS Goldar

Comments are closed.