American Swing – Movie Review
In 1977, New York City was scorched by stifling heat waves, enervated by energy crunches and inflation and hurtling toward social unrest. But its citizens partied on. Nightlife flourished, disco and cocaine ruled at the exclusive Studio 54 and punks smashed guitars at CBGB. Meanwhile, a raging orgy was underway at Plato’s Retreat. Chronicling the rise and fall of this notorious sex club and its quixotic owner Larry Levenson, American Swing captures the glorious last gasp of the (mostly hetero) sexual revolution that had been birthed in the sixties.
“American Swing” is a documentary that looks at the heyday of Plato’s Retreat and Larry Levenson, who was its creator. The documentary looks at not only the tragic rise and fall of a particular individual of nearly biblical proportions, but also of an era that was pre-AIDS, where for a brief shing moment, sex really seemed to be something that was liberating, open to everybody, and so, why not experiment, and to hell with monogamy. The documentary itself is somewhat grainy in terms of footage. It looks like it was all taken from somebody who was selling it on the street corner, but the subject matter is absolutely fascinating. Three stars.