The New Morning of Billy the Kid

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Billy the Kid walks through Monument Valley—and into a bar called Schlachtenhaus (Slaughterhouse). His request to become a bouncer is accepted only because the owner's daughter, Tatum, takes a shine to him. His work-mates are all culture heros and heroines, ranging from a famous samurai to a singer/songwriter. Their real job, Billy soon realizes, is to protect the bar, the last refuge from a world of warring gangs. Told to watch out for gangster infiltrators, Billy is captivated by customer Charlotte Rampling and fails to recognize her as the agent of the Gang of Winds. On the day that the band Zelda performs in the bar, Charlotte and her boss, Harry Callaghan, launch their attack. At the end of a cataclysmic shoot-out, only three remain. One of them is Billy, who sets off into Monument Valley in search of an identity as a new kind of hero.

Comment Yamakawa's wonderful film is not a rock 'n' roll fantasy, but a thoughtful comedy about movies, music, information technology and the need to leave the past behind. The saloon is an arena of dreams where characters, images and situations from popular culture are transmitted into something entirely new. If you've ever imagined elegiac farce or melodramatic social satire, here they art.

— Tony Rayns (1987)

Screening Details

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