The Last Movie, Dir. Dennis Hopper, USA 1971, 108 mins, English with Spanish subtitles
A Hollywood movie crew is making a western in a Peruvian village. When production wraps, the stuntman Kansas stays behind, attempting to find redemption in isolation. Meanwhile, a group of indigenous Peruvians have taken over the abandoned set and begun to stage a re-enactment of the production.
Among the most storied productions of the New Hollywood era, director Dennis Hopper was given carte blanche by Universal for his next directorial feature after the tremendous commercial success of Easy Rider. The writer, director and star took the money and ran, choosing to stage The Last Movie in Peru – at a remove from the Hollywood machine.
Although it won a CIDALC award at the 1971 Venice Film Festival, The Last Movie halted Hopper’s career for many years – the Hollywood establishment gleefully writing him off as a self-indulgent eccentric. Yet this consciously self-reflexive film, co-written by Hopper and Rebel Without a Cause screenwriter Stewart Stern, remains compelling today.