Slaughterhouse-Five [1972]

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) has a problem with time: he keeps jumping about in his own life, principally between three key scenes. The "present" is a kind of glowing suburban bliss involving a dutiful wife, large house, and presidency of the local Lions; the "past" is being a prisoner of World War II and experiencing the firebombing of Dresden from the wrong side; the "future" takes place in a glass dome on the planet Tralfamadore, to which Billy has been mysteriously spirited along with the woman of his fantasies (Montana Wildhack, played by Valerie Perrine). It isn't meant to make too much sense, since the point is to represent a man (and a century) that has witnessed things too unbearable for a wholly sane person to make sense of. In fact author Kurt Vonnegut's anguished cry on the insanity of war is one of those completely unfilmable books, so director George Roy Hill gets points even for trying. The whole package is thought provoking in a wholly Vonnegutian way. All this, and Glenn Gould playing Bach as well. --Richard Farr

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