Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Paul Mazursky made a splash—and earned the rebuke of some high-culture guardians—with his 1969 debut feature, about two married couples whose mutual quest for swinger enlightenment ultimately lead them into each other's beds. An orgy of pot-smoking and on-screen nudity, the movie was undeniably a response to the new cultural permissiveness, but there was nothing glib or opportunistic about it. Rather, Mazursky was reflecting the audience's own anxieties about the sexual revolution by making a film in which wife-swapping wasn't the answer to anything, but merely one more unresolved question. Since then, Mazursky's best films have coursed with a laissez-faire attitude toward adultery—a feeling that if marriage is indeed a contract, then surely it is one open to renegotiation. For all its surface provocations, even Bob & Carol had ultimately seems a cockeyed endorsement of "for better or for worse." Starring Robert Culp, Natalie Wood, Elliott Gould, and Dyan Cannon. (NR) SCOTT FOUNDAS

June 19-25, 9:15 p.m., 2009

 
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