×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto Film Review: ‘La ultima pelicula’

This vague spoof of Dennis Hopper's 'The Last Movie' is an exasperating indulgence that will fly over the heads of most viewers.

With:
Alex Ross Perry, Gabino Rodriguez, Iatzua Larios, Rene Redzepi. (English, Spanish dialogue)

As insular as filmic in-jokes get, “La ultima pelicula” largely offers a vague spoof of Dennis Hopper’s 1971 “The Last Movie,” sometimes called the “Heaven’s Gate” of counterculture movies. In subsequent decades, Hopper’s psychedelic creation has found some deserved appreciation as, among other things, possibly the most experimental feature ever funded/distributed by a major studio. But it remains little seen, so even the thin amusement that Raya Martin and Mark Peranson eke out by mocking its on- and offscreen indulgences will fly over the heads of most viewers. Not that there will be many; commercial prospects being close to nil, their own exasperating indulgence looks headed toward a few cinematheques at best (ideally co-billed with “The Last Movie”).

Hopper had almost singlehandedly ignited Hollywood’s lust for untried young talent with the sleeper smash “Easy Rider.” He almost singlehandedly snuffed it with his follow-up, which became notorious even before its release for its seemingly rudderless Peruvian shoot and near-endless editing process, both said to be conducted heavily under-the-influence. That saga was  chronicled in a documentary released the same year, “American Dreamer,” which has probably been seen by a minuscule fraction of even “Movie’s” limited viewership.

Nonetheless, seeing both films is practically a prerequisite for experiencing this collaboration between Filipino helmer Martin and Canadian critic-filmmaker Peranson, though it doesn’t necessarily make watching “La ultima pelicula” any more pleasurable. Alex Ross Perry reprises his obnoxious hipster from “The Color Wheel,” more or less, as a pompous American auteur scouting locations in Mexico for his magnum opus. It is to be “about the apocalypse” (it’s 2012, the year the Mayans predicted the world would end), as well as about “the end of film” (using purportedly the very last manufactured rolls of 35mm stock).

Popular on Variety

But mostly, he wanders around trying to soak up the “realness” of local culture while acting like the consummate pretentious art-school-twit interloper. He’s helped in this quest by a bemused local guide (Gabino Rodriguez) and an alleged journalist (Iatzua Larios), though at first she seems to be practicing a rather older profession. He eventually uses both of them as actors, while he himself plays a sort of gringo Jesus, just as Hopper played the martyred director of the film-within-the-film known as “The Last Movie.”

From its very long false start of projection-focusing test graphics and several later “scenes missing” to its impenetrably underlit sequences and jumble of shooting formats (from 8mm to iPhone), “La ultima pelicula” means to be insufferable — albeit in a comic way — and succeeds a little too well. A few droll and/or silly moments poke through the general boredom. But Martin and Peranson’s snarkfest doesn’t really offer any critique that Hopper didn’t already aim at himself, however incoherently, in the supremely self-conscious “Last Movie.”

Toronto Film Review: 'La ultima pelicula'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Wavelengths), Sept. 5, 2013. Running time: 88 MIN.

Production: (Canada-Denmark-Mexico-Philippines) A Cinema Scope production in association with  Canana Films, Cinematografica, Faliro House, Fischer Film and DOX:LAB. (International sales: Cinema Scope, Toronto.) Produced by Mark Peranson. Executive producer, Christos Konstantakopoulos. Co-producers, Pablo Cruz, Tine Fischer, Raya Martin.

Crew: Directed, written by Raya Martin, Mark Peranson. Camera (color, 16mm/Super 8/HD), Gym Lumbera; editors, Peranson, Lawrence S. Ang; production designer, Paloma Camarena; sound, Aldonza Contreras; sound designer, Corinne De San Jose.

With: Alex Ross Perry, Gabino Rodriguez, Iatzua Larios, Rene Redzepi. (English, Spanish dialogue)

More Film

  • Stone, guitarist for Taiwanese pop band

    Mayday Guitarist, Stone Rallies Fans at Singapore Film Festival

    Stone, the Taiwanese performer who has gone from being the guitarist in Mayday to a promising acting career, drew crowds on Friday, the first full day of the Singapore International Film Festival. Speaking at Projector, the indie theater inside the historical Golden Mile building, some two hundred fans gathered to hear the artist share career [...]

  • The Tempest (concept art)

    Film Bazaar: Rinkel Film Boards Tamil Western ‘The Tempest’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netherlands production outfit Rinkel Film (“Rafiki”) has reteamed with India’s Stray Factory (“Nirvana Inn”) for Tamil language Western “The Tempest” (aka “Aasaimugam”). It is to be directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Arun Karthick. The two companies previously co-produced Karthick’s communal bigotry tale, “Nasir,” which benefited from a grant of €50,000 ($55,350) under the Netherlands Film [...]

  • ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to

    ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to Make Short Film 'Robin Robin' for Netflix

    “Shaun the Sheep” and “Wallace and Gromit” producer Aardman is making “Robin Robin,” a short film, for Netflix. The project marks a move away for Aardman from working with the BBC, which has broadcast the Oscar-winning stop-motion specialist’s hit projects over the years. “Robin Robin,” which will bow around Christmas 2020, is about a bird [...]

  • Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA

    Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA Film Awards Ceremony 

    Popular British talk show host Graham Norton has been tapped to host the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards ceremony. Norton currently fronts the ratings-winning “The Graham Norton Show“ for the BBC. In assuming hosting duties for the upcoming BAFTA ceremony on Feb. 2, he will be taking over from “Absolutely Fabulous“ star Joanna Lumley, who hosted [...]

  • “Facing It,” an eight-minute 30 second

    U.K. Short 'Facing It' Takes Top Prize at 2019 VIEW Awards

    “Facing It,” a claymation/live-action film about how relationships mold people, has won the 2019 VIEW Conference Award for best short film. The film was written and directed by Sam Gainsborough and co-written by Louisa Wood and produced at the National Film and Television School’s Beaconsfield Studio in Beaconsfield, U.K. The VIEW Awards are an offshoot [...]

  • THE CINEMA' 'FRAILTY AT LAEMMLE' FILM

    Laemmle Theatres Arthouse Chain No Longer Seeking Buyer

    Los Angeles-based arthouse chain Laemmle Theatres has stopped seeking a buyer, four months after putting itself on the sales block amid slow sales. Greg Laemmle, president of the 81-year-old exhibitor, announced the development Thursday. He told Variety that discussions with an unidentified buyer had reached an advanced stage but fell apart and that there has [...]

  • Morgan Freeman Lori McCreary Gary Lucchesi

    Film News Roundup: Morgan Freeman's Revelations Teams With Gary Lucchesi for Production Venture

    In today’s film news roundup, Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary and Gary Lucchesi are teaming up; Zolee Griggs, Sara Rue and Ed Quinn are cast; and “Clementine” finds a home. JOINT VENTURE Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment is teaming with former Lakeshore Entertainment president Gary Lucchesi for a joint production venture. Popular on Variety [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content