- 1 hr 28 min
Greetings is a satirical comedy released in 1968, directed by Brian De Palma, and is the debut film for both De Palma and lead actor, Jonathan Warden. The film is set in New York City amidst the rise of the Vietnam War, and it follows the daily lives of three young men as they navigate their friendship, career aspirations, and the tense political climate of the era.
The film begins with a humorous take on the then-popular trend of pornography, as the main character, Paul Shaw (played by Warden), is seen filming a cardboard cutout of a nude woman. He is interrupted by Lloyd Clay (played by Graham), one of his two best friends, who urges him to go out and meet women instead of filming cardboard cut-outs. The two friends then embark on a series of unsuccessful encounters with various women throughout New York City.
Their other friend, Jon Rubin (played by a young Robert De Niro in one of his earliest film roles), is a quirky and eccentric magician who specializes in performing card tricks on the street. Jon is preoccupied with the Vietnam War and the cultural revolution happening around him, spending much of his time protesting and participating in anti-war demonstrations.
As the three friends struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing society, they are offered an opportunity to make money by creating a fake documentary about a man trying to dodge the draft. They spend months filming and editing the documentary, which ultimately fails to generate enough interest to be politically relevant or profitable.
The film features a variety of experimental and innovative techniques, including split-screen image manipulation and improvised dialogue, which was a departure from the traditional Hollywood style of the time. De Palma's unique approach to filmmaking was heavily influenced by the French New Wave movement, which emphasized realism and the use of handheld cameras to capture spontaneous and candid moments.
Throughout the film, Greetings touches upon themes that are still relevant today, such as the absurdity of war, the struggle to find one's purpose, and the value of friendship. The film's message is conveyed through a playful and comedic tone that never veers into preachiness, making it a refreshing and entertaining viewing experience.
Overall, Greetings is a must-see film for fans of independent cinema and lovers of political satire. It launched the career of both Brian De Palma and Robert De Niro, cementing their reputation for creating bold and challenging works of art. While it may not be as well-known as some of their later projects, the film remains an important part of American film history and a testament to the power of creative experimentation in film.