The Exiles: Soul and the City

The 1961 'lost' classic gets its long overdue theatrical debut

A night at the Ritz: Homer Nish in The Exiles
Milestone Film

A night at the Ritz: Homer Nish in The Exiles

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The ExilesWritten and directed by Kent MackenzieMilestone FilmOpens July 11, IFC Center

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"You could call [The Exiles] independent," Andersen wisecracked, slinging an elbow at the deep-pocketed Miramax "indie," "but you couldn't call it 'pulp fiction.' " And yet the area that Yvonne, Tommy, Homer, and their many friends wander is a literal film noir neighborhood: Its crooked angles and night-splitting neon also served as the backdrop for the atom-age apocalypse of 1955's Kiss Me Deadly. It's also film noir in that the city is inevitable, inescapable. As in Mean Streets and American Graffiti, two films about the confinement of community that seem influenced by The Exiles' incidental sprawl, every night out or stroll away circles back to the neighborhood. Even when Tommy gets behind the wheel of a car—in a sequence that's pure foot-to-pedal exhilaration, all whipping hair, cranking tunes, and gear-jamming low angles—he's back by daybreak. And the cycle of mooching, scuffling, and hanging starts all over again, on to the next dawn.

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