“Five Easy Pieces”: A lost soul points the way for independent film

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“We’d had a revelation. This is the direction American movies should take.”

That was the late Roger Ebert, tweeting about the rapturous audience reaction to Bob Rafelson’s “Five Easy Pieces.” And he was right — the 1970 film did point the way for a lot of American independent film to come.

The Criterion Collection first released the film on laserdisc 25 years ago, and again as part of a great 2010 boxed set of films by BBS, the independent company started by Rafelson and Bert Schneider that produced “Pieces,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Easy Rider” and more — all quintessentially, almost self-consciously American stories. Now it’s finally out on its own this week in a lovely Blu-ray edition.

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