In 1972, the American dream was coming apart at the seams. Watergate, Vietnam, and the Manson Family murders had ushered in an era of unapologetic brutality and deceit even the Summer Olympics ended in a massacre. The two-part series "Coming Apart: Two Views of 1972" looks at how American cinema greeted this brave new world with fascination and repulsion. F.T.A. (Fuck the Army), screening tonight, is a documentary about an antiwar road show starring Jane Fonda and her Klute co-star and then-boyfriend, Donald Sutherland. Amazingly, Hollywood was nearly mute on the subject of Vietnam while the war was being waged, and F.T.A. is a rare look at young soldiers speaking bluntly about their experience, interspersed with the earnest, if slightly bleary-eyed, political vaudeville. Despite favorable reviews, F.T.A. disappeared after a week, and was resurrected only recently through the efforts of present-day antiwar documentarian David Zeiger. Unlike F.T.A., Wes Cravens grindhouse classic Last House on the Left, screening May 9, tackles the dehumanizing aspect of violence through immersion rather than resistance. By distorting an average American family beyond redemption and obliterating the line between crime and reckoning, Cravens low-budget debut blew open the doors of contemporary horror filmmaking. Since 1972, there have been countless imitators and a remake, but few have achieved the lingering effect of the original.
Thu., May 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., May 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009