Presented on the occasion of the restaging of Harald Szeemann’s 1974 exhibit Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us at the Swiss Institute, which examines the life of his grandfather, an inventor and hairdresser. Preceded by Sarah Morris’ short documentary Robert Towne.
The dream team of Ashby, screenwriter Robert Towne, and actor-producer Warren Beatty set their biting farce and undisputed ’70s classic on the eve of Nixon’s 1968 electoral landslide, with over-sexed, in-demand, and increasingly vexed hairdresser Beatty juggling frustrated girlfriend Goldie Hawn, taxing client Lee Grant, ex-girlfriend Julie Christie, and potential business partner Jack Warden as America lurches to the right. Released just one year after Harald Szeemann curated his seminal exhibition in Bern, Shampoo presents an alternative portrait of a hairdresser notorious for his skill, hubris and charm.
2006, U.S., 34m, HD Digital
An intimate portrait of Shampoo’s screenwriter and one of American cinema’s most influential figures. Described by Morris as an “elliptical figure,” Towne, who is widely known for writing Chinatown (1974) as well as serving as a script doctor for Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The Godfather (1972), operates in a mode characterized by collaboration and shifting roles. His films, marked by their moral ambiguity, remain formidable examples of what many consider to be American cinema’s second Golden Age.