Over The Edge – A Cult Classic Comes of Age

The preservation and the celebration of old works of film is an infrequent occurrence unless one lives in New York City, where its commonplace. For example, The Film Forum is well-known for screening movies such as “Paris is Burning” and “Annie Hall” regardless of their age and availability on DVD. Ditto the MOMA and Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center as both curate retrospectives on a regular basis.

The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center can now boast they have screened the cult classic “Over the Edge” – selected for the opening night film for Film Comment’s Select series (in conjunction with VICE Magazine) on February 19, 2010.

Released in theaters in 1979 by the now defunct Orion Pictures, the film was quickly removed (despite its PG rating). The reason – concerns that audiences would riot. Indeed, “Over the Edge” was deemed controversial due to its “authentic” portrayal of disenfranchised youth in “Anywhere” America (many scenes in the film were actually shot throughout Colorado and cities like Denver and Aurora).

Thirty-one years after its initial release, “Over the Edge” still resonates due to its timely subject matter – youth engaging in vandalism, violence and drugs in the context of neglectful parents who are more concerned about the value of their real estate. As such, elements of the film can be seen in the works of artists that have come of age in the 1990s, namely filmmaker Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused”) and Kurt Cobain (“Smells Like Teen Spirit” the music video).

There is no doubt the film will continue to influence up and coming artists. Now if only HBO would program multiple airings of the film as it did in the 1980s so the newer generations can discover this “gem.”

Click on below to watch the post screening panel discussion with the cast and crew.

Author: JoannaRudolph

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