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Presented by Visit Knoxville and Regal
Time of the Heathen

Time of the Heathen

Peter Kass · 1961 · 75 minutes
November 10 · Regal Riviera · 5:15 p.m.

In the opening moments of Time of the Heathen, a wandering drifter named Gaunt happens upon the murder of a black woman, Marie. The murderer and his father spot the stranger and conspire to pin the crime on him, so Gaunt flees into the woods, taking with him the only other witness, Marie’s deaf son.

Director and co-writer Peter Kass spent most of his career in theater, mentoring under the playwright and screenwriter Clifford Odets before becoming a renowned acting teacher. Time of the Heathen is Kass’s only film, and it’s not quite like anything you’ve seen before. What begins as a social drama and thriller evolves in the final act into a strange and poignant exploration of post-war trauma. Of special note is Kass’s collaboration with cinematographer and experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller.

Time of the Heathen won the grand prize at the 1962 Bergamo International Film Festival but went mostly unseen until this year, after a recently discovered film print was restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, among others, and premiered at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Italy. FILM FEST KNOX is proud to screen Time of the Heathen as part of its commitment to expanding the understanding of America’s rich history of regional filmmaking.

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