Joanna View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Michael Sarne

Produced: 1968

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD+Blu-ray Details

Certificate: 18

Studio: British Film Institute

Length: 108 mins

Format: DVD+Blu-ray

Region: Region 2

Released: 25 April 2011

Cat No: BFIB1062

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu

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Joanna

Cast: Donald Sutherland , Calvin Lockhart , Clifton Jones , Genevieve Waite , Michelle Cook , Christian Doermer , Glenna Forster-Jones , David Scheur , Marda Vanne , Geoffrey Morris , Manning Wilson , Dan Caulfield

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Michael Sarne writes and directs this breezy portrait of London in the swinging ’60s. Wide-eyed small town art student Joanna (Genevieve... Read More

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Michael Sarne writes and directs this breezy portrait of London in the swinging ’60s. Wide-eyed small town art student Joanna (Genevieve Waite) moves to London, where she falls in with the ’in’ crowd and is soon drifting aimlessly from party to party and bed to bed. Donald Sutherland co-stars as Lord Peter Sanderson, an eccentric aristocrat who takes Joanna and her friends on a trip to Africa.

Pitched by director Michael Sarne as ‘the female Alfie’ (he could as well have said ‘Barbarella on Earth’), Joanna at first seems so ensconced in the hip aesthetic and ideology of ‘the sixties’ it makes Blow-up look like Cathy Come Home.

Something of a dry run for Sarne’s ambitiously degenerate Myra Breckinridge, which scandalised Hollywood two years later, Joanna establishes him as an audacious visual and narrative stylist (right from the unconventional opening credits) and sets out his penchant for modish touches of cinematic Brechtianism. But at the film’s heart there is a strong current of sensitivity. Promiscuous art student Joanna (the fashionably twig-like Genevieve Waite) immerses herself in the hedonism of the era, only to be derailed by a friendship with dying aristocrat (a strangely effective Donald Sutherland) and a doomed relationship with a black lover (an excellent Calvin Lockhart).

Ahead of its time in terms of a non-exploitative depiction of interracial romance (and a general foregrounding of black characters), Joanna’s glittering surface masks a deep end absent from many a ‘swinging London’ film.

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