Running every other Friday, the AAU Movie Nights seem like an occurrence with a notorious reputation among both staff and the more stationary students. Hosted within the library walls of AAU, the Movie Nights with the obscure name Politically RE-CORRECTED greets you with wine and a bowl of free popcorn at the entrance. Amidst the chatter and shelved books your hand finds a cup of Chardonnay, some popcorn finds its way into your mouth and, at last, your rear finds its way into a seat among one of the many chairs facing the screen. Lights dim out, voices die away and the evening is ready to unravel itself.
The Man who got away. The man tries to get away. He doesn’t. Used-cars salesman Richard Hudson leans back from his typewriter and smiles – he just became a movie director.
It’s ironic that the main character wrote down the purest description of his own story. The 1999 movie adaptation of Charles Willeford’s 1960 novel “The Woman Chaser” may come off as a generic proto-noir creation. However, Professor Douglas Shields Dix, who picked this admittedly no-name piece, gives it a complex introduction, making “The Woman Chaser” more challenging to watch than anticipated.
Linking the origin and misuse of the term “politically incorrect” to such a B production film is a bold move. But, as the script stampedes through 1950s Los Angeles the connection becomes obvious. Main protagonist, or better yet antagonist Hudson, talks about his views on life and women in a voice that is a tad too deep, waving his prototypical tough, ambitious, megalomaniacal white guy banner so seriously. Yet it is not serious at all. At one moment he sits at a bar sipping scotch and contemplating about what it takes to be a big fish; At another he dances ballet with his mother.
It slowly becomes obvious that Hudson is above all totally nuts. And as politically incorrect as a character can be. Was he though? After all he was just trying to live the American dream. A dilemma especially useful to keep in mind considering the current situation in 2017. After all, Donald Trump is just trying to make America great again. Both Trump and Hudson score about the same in the understanding of social cohesion. Which is laughable in “The Woman Chaser,” but not so much in the oval office of the White House.
“But, at the moment, it’s still possible for us to smile. I hope the film does that for you, even if you are not quite sure about what you are smiling about,” concludes Professor Dix. And the audience can breathe out: we are not in the deep, yet.
All in all, the purposefully black-and-white shot motion picture felt like a paraphrase of Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 “Natural Born Killers” with an Eastwoodian narration thrown in. It was sarcastic, it was thought provoking and it was fun. So if you find some free time on your hands on a Friday night and wish to quench your thirst for controversy, next film in line will be presented by professor Anthony Marais with his surprise “re-correctional” piece of choice on March 24.