Spring Night, Summer Night

This 1967 independent production marks the sole directorial effort by Joseph L. Anderson, a longtime professor at Ohio University and coauthor of Donald Richie’s famous study The Japanese Film: Art and Industry. Shot and set in Appalachian Ohio, it tells of a poor young man in love with his half sister. The first of its two parts takes place in early spring, unfolding over a long night that culminates with the two siblings having sex and the brother running away from home; the second takes place five months later as the brother uneasily returns. The documentary-style portraits of the characters’ impoverished neighbors display the influence of Italian neorealism, and the shadow-heavy photography at times evokes German expressionism. Yet the storytelling, full of characters killing time, anticipates such other American indie features as Eagle Pennell’s The Whole Shootin’ Match and Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep.