Juleen Compton – Stranded

This past weekend, as part of their Juleen Compton x2 series, Metrograph screened Juleen Compton’s Stranded (1965) and The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1966). I was able to catch the former and was immediately struck by both its familiarity and uniqueness. In Stranded, Compton plays Raina, a proto-punk, travelling Greece with her American lover Bob (Gary Collins) and their French friend Olivier (Gian Pietro Calasso). Metrograph’s description of Stranded appropriately compares it to Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) and Agnes Varda’s Vagabond (1986). Like the heroes of those films, Raina acts however she pleases with little regard for social norms. She bursts with Chaplin-esque energy, transforming a boat deck or a cliff-drop into a dramatic stage for improvised comedy. Those surrounding her, including their tour-guide and deck-hand Nicos (Alkis Giannakas), can’t help but be seduced. American jazz music influenced the French New Wave, and here, we see that influence return to America tinged with a joie de vivre found in Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962). Compton and Collins deliver their lines with a playful quality, and Calasso takes on a much more melodramatic yet sincere tone. Olivier, a homosexual man, has his heart broken and wallet robbed on more than one occasion. He’s judged by the more conservative Bob who neither approves of his lifestyle nor that of Raina’s. That difference between the traditional and progressive threatens to tear the group. Compton doesn’t proselytize; Raina’s lives her life without care.

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