It might be raining on the Cannes parade, and security out of hand, some of the films, well…
…but there’s still one bright note on a gray, spitting Riviera first festival friday. The bike of the film, Easy Rider, forty one years old this week, is back inside the territory that gave it life, once more, back at the festival where the film and cast – Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Karen Black. won a vital critical reprieve from festival goers and organisers.
The master builder of the easy rider Captain America replica….Jack Lepler, is here too. The secrets behind the film, the legend behind the story (what Jack doesn’t know he isn’t telling, not about the bike nor the original film no how – it aint worth saying nor knowing, he says with a wink).
So the sequel, Easy Rider II, is on the Cote D’Azur, back at Cannes. If it weren’t for the 22nd Cannes Film festival in 1969 (the festival after the year after student and filmmakers such as Godard and Truffaut protesting, stopping Cannes in its tracks), the original Easy Rider might not have seen the light of day. American distributors wouldn’t touch the film, said they were embarrassed by it. More fool them, because this game-changer made for $400,000, took $60 million at the box office.
Easy Rider was a big part of the independent cinema’s rebirthing of Hollywood after years of studio failures and excesses. And it was Cannes that gave the story behind the bike its traction, gave the new influential film its market tread. Easy Rider is a key independent American film, a production that some say created the trend that in effect saved Hollywood from a crippling decline. More power to Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Cheers to more Easy sequels.