Broadway by Light
Léger’s student enters the guild with a reel of neon signs and marquees in color, French subtitles by Chris Marker, technical assistance from Alain Resnais, score by Maurice Le Roux.
Qui êtes-vous Polly Maggoo?
“Quel saccage du jardin de la beauté!”
An episode of O.K.T.V.’s Qui êtes-vous! (next week the pope), behind-the-scenes footage, Nabokovian themes.
“Watch Television”, reads a men’s-room banner at the studio, “Television Is Health”, another.
Cinderella and her Prince Igor.
Isidore Ducasse the fashion maven, who has “re-created Woman” in aluminium, as the British say.
As Sir Jock Mellor says in Very Like a Whale, “nice bit of agitprop” or words to that effect. “Freedom fries” in the U.S. House of Representatives set the seal on this, however, and the satire was not lost.
A Kennedy-hating Texas sheriff has a superhero ensemble and an alter ego, he deals with looters and then is assigned to France vis-à-vis his foes Moujik Man and Red China Man and the latter’s FAF (French Anti-Freedom) group.
Mr. Freedom finds little sympathy in France, so he destroys Mont St. Michel and Mont Blanc and threatens to “go all the way,” la classe ouvrière has no use for him, he dies in the rubble of French civilization.
Vincent Canby found it “witless” and so on at some length (New York Times), Jonathan Rosenbaum gives it out in the Chicago Reader as “a singular expression of 60s irreverence.”
USA 1964 Zaïre 1974
A great drama, in three parts. “The Louisville syndicate”, the Black Muslims, Mobutu.
The fighters are Liston twice and Foreman in Kinshasa.
The good-humored champion breezes along, Klein stays between the ring (where his still camera is very informative) and the intimate views of Tom Gries’ The Greatest.
As a documentary filmmaker, he is close in some ways to Frederick Wiseman.
Some complain the Fancy is ignored or the private man, the fine technique is praised or slighted.
Klein watches very attentively, from his vantage point. The businessmen who backed Cassius Clay speak for themselves, however, and so does Malcolm X, and so does Zaire. The fight game and sociology and political science around “the greatest scientific boxer of all times!”
Grands soirs & petits
—Extraits d’un film qui aurait dû exister...
“The France,” argues a man in the street, “of 1968 is not the Petrograd of 1917,” which is certainly an argument.
Will the students fight? What does the working man have to say about the students’ willingness to fight, or not?
Resnais marches with the students, like Lowell (“well, this has been a zany evening”) and Mailer and Macdonald at the Pentagon.
Night of manifestation, more talk in the streets. The unions? Les flics (“pro-vocation!”), the Sorbonne with a bullhorn.
Meetings, R.P.M. (dir. Stanley Kramer), The Strawberry Statement (dir. Stuart Hagmann).
Writers and students. Liaisons, committees. A mother calls. Tricolor, no, red, black!
Action committees. Klein’s aplomb and gravitas are admirable to a fault. Quel drame.
De Gaulle, L’Internationale, Pompidou, even Mitterrand. Dany Cohn-Bendit, a ringer for Theo Bikel.
“Charlot”, they call De Gaulle, chanting. Fatigues and cigars, Mao, Lenin. Occupation of the Citroën factory, etc. End of the affair.
What is a photo and what a non-photo, seen and demonstrated by the photographer commenting with the help of a rostrum camera on his contact sheets, back to the very first.
“The brandy of the damned,” straight guzzled.
“God rot Tunbridge Wells,” and so on and so forth.
Minkowski, Musiciens du Louvre/Grenoble.
Even to such a country as this, not France assuredly, but that too, even.