Where Are You Goin’?

Grief, sarcasm and sympathy make up the incredibly tragic and hilarious New Wave film Five Easy Pieces. No happy ending is found here; this is a pure and pragmatic tale, keeping audiences breathless and engaged the entire 96 minutes. Tears and laughter will run rampant throughout 5th Avenue Cinema, which is airing the film Nov. 8 through Nov. 10.

Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces is a ‘70s dark-humored tragedy about a man who is dissatisfied with his life and has lost his sense of identity. Jack Nicholson stars in his first major leading role as Bobby Dupea, a blue-collar oil rigger and former piano prodigy. Playing alongside Nicholson as his witless and needy girlfriend is Karen Black. Cheating, alcohol and emotional abuse compile their relationship from beginning to end, with few moments of tenderness in between.

The two eventually set off north to visit Bobby’s father, and along the way engage with a series of melodramatic characters who help further advance Bobby’s sense of frustration and self-disgust.
This is a story of both suffocation and freedom. We are taken on a journey through these miserable people’s lives and are able to fully resonate with their behaviors and destinies. Alienation is a prominent crisis for each character and is only answered through a rebellious act of escaping one’s problems and fears by running away.

Five Easy Pieces is one of the first art films to create a character indefinitely lost and dejected in the world. This is not a fairy tale; this story does not get wrapped up in a neat little bow, but instead leaves us stunned, silent and questioning. The opportunity for being absorbed into this Oscar-nominated film is too great to pass up and will introduce an entirely new generation to the brilliance of this ‘70s counter-culture masterpiece.

5th Avenue Cinema is free for Portland State students, $3 for other students and $4 general admission.
Visit 5thavenuecinema.org for more information.