#128 – Crystal Heaven Death Alarm

(1973, Fr, 72 min) Dir Jean Anno. Cast Jean Publique, Fanny Fanny, Hors Bicche.

In 1968 Jean Anno put his finger to the pulse of the nation and produced Dans la Vallée Ouverte avec le Soleil (In the Open Valley, with the Sun), a mostly drippy hippy wander through some bleached out celluloid with a spurt of totally uncool violence from The Man at the end. In 1973 he took the pulse once again and, inspired by the likes of the Baader-Meinhof Group and the Red Brigade and so on, came up with Crystal Heaven Death Alarm in which he stripped the politics from current events, totally dug the aesthetic and made a flick where the hippies get their revenge. Okay, so Anno’s still not getting it and Crystal Heaven Death Alarm isn’t a ‘good’ film but it’s a totally Seventies film and because of that probably a better indicator of the confusion of the times than his previous effort. The plot’s thin stuff – beautiful hippies blow up a couple of banks and shoot some judges and stuff before the pigs get involved and gun the groovy terrorists down. If nothing else the fetishising of the gang’s death is something to behold, like a slow motion sex scene full of blood. Le Mog return with their most atonal music yet to accompany all this and if you’ve heard any of Le Mog’s albums (Death to Birds and Mice for example) you’ll know that that’s saying something.

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