Repertory Picks

Monte Hellman Heads to Toronto

On Film / In Theaters — Feb 11, 2016

The Janus Films touring retrospective Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road has made its way to Toronto, where it’s playing through March 6 at the TIFF Cinematheque. Simultaneously, TIFF is also presenting Wim’s Films: American Friends & Foreign Influences, which includes a selection of the German director’s personal favorites. Next up in that series is Monte Hellman’s 1971 cult sensation, Two-Lane Blacktop. Starring singer-songwriter James Taylor as the Driver and the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson as the Mechanic, this sun-drenched, minimalist movie follows a cross-country drag race between the two protagonists and a GTO-driving drifter (played by Warren Oates). With a script by novelist Rudy Wurlitzer and expert direction from Hellman, the existentialist road movie is widely regarded as one of the best of its genre. If you’re in Toronto, you can see the film next Tuesday, and in the meantime, watch James Taylor’s original screen test below. (Then read a list of the sixteen reasons filmmaker Richard Linklater loves this movie!)