Friday, March 30, 2012

1 A.M. (aka One American Movie) / 1 P.M. (One Parallel Movie)

1 A.M. (aka One American Movie) was shot in 1968, abandoned by Jean Luc Godard in 1969, and then later resurrected and re-edited by his collaborator on the film D.A. Pennebaker. Intercut with film footage of Godard at work on the film and re-named 1 P.M. (One Parallel Movie), it was finally released in 1972.
This upheaval may not have been so compelling at the time but, retrospectively it is a tremendous statement about how far the boundaries were being pushed during the late 60's. The American scene with all its exuberance and diversity--represented best in the scene of the Black Panthers where the crew is in the film and the camera oscillates between Godard and the producers who watch stiffly from a distance and Black Panthers and the crew that are dancing, beating wildly on their instruments.
The first scene, a lengthy monologue by Godard followed by a discussion with the crew makes obvious that Godard cultivates this self-reflexivity. As the film progresses the crew becomes disenchanted with Godards control of this to some degree and begins to take things into their own hands portraying him as an outsider and themselves as insiders who can "dig" the American scene. Almost the exact same progression occurs in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take Two (the archival footage from the 1968 outtakes) where the director William Greaves sets up a scenario for the crew to be on set with the actors who play out a short psychodrama. The crew revolts against the control of the director, which, turns out to be part of his plan and they begin to film their own meetings where they analyze what is going on and plot and scheme. It is definitely a statement of the anarchic relationships that began to form that both of these films were made during the same year.
Eldridge Cleaver, Jean-Luc Godard, Tom Hayden, Rip Torn all hanging around Chicago, around the time of the Chicago Eight trial (I think). The talks Tom Hayden gave in this movie sum up the feelings most young people had about the political system at the time. His talks in this movie hit home like nothing else I've ever seen or heard. This is a GREAT documentary of the late sixties/early seventies in Chicago. The film also features Jean-Luc out on the south side streets of Chicago grooving on some chanting and percussion, the Sears tower in the background. I also remember an image of Rip Torn riding up in a construction elevator (dressed as an Indian?).


Anonymous said...

Hey Jim, I'm a PhD student researching the direct cinema movement, and am currently looking at One P.M. for possible inclusion as a case study. The only versions of the film I've found online do NOT include the Godard monologue/directions to his crew in the opening (neither does the version you've posted). Finding this footage is driving me crazy! I've seen it referenced a few times, along with some apparent quotations from it. Have you ever seen this footage? If so, do you know where I can find it?

((Jim)) said...

If you follow the link to my other blog,, and email me, I can put you into contact with some people who may be able to help you.