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The Last Movie

Screening on Film
Directed by Dennis Hopper.
With Dennis Hopper, Stella Garcia, Julie Adams.
US, 1971, 35mm, color, 108 min.
English and Spanish with English subtitles.
Print source: Academy Film Archive

Made the same year as Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show, The Last Movie was only possible after the grand success of Dennis Hopper’s low-budget countercultural phenomenon Easy Rider. Given the green light to set up in a remote village in Peru, the anarchic production helmed by one of Hollywood’s loosest cannons ultimately achieved its infamy for reveling in psychedelic, decadent danger more wild and wanton than the Old West that Sam Fuller recreates in Hopper’s film. With the lines between document and fantasy blurring behind and on screen, Hopper plays a stuntman who stays behind after a film wraps in Peru. Sometimes looking for love or gold, he watches the native villagers as they incorporate the rituals and iconography of both cinema and the West into their lives, using real bullets. In taking Hollywood’s money and fleeing into the heart of darkness, Hopper also earnestly points an inverted mirror toward his own benefactors, who had to witness their investment beautifully implode into a fragmented, feverish, funny nightmare—including startlingly disruptive cuts, character personality changes and nonlinearity within nonlinearity—that ultimately out-counters the counterculture. 

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