The Making of an Underground Film, originally broadcast on CBS News with Walter Cronkite on New Years' Eve 1965, begins with reporter Dave Dugan saying, "Not everyone digs underground movies, but those who do can dig 'em here." in front of the Bridge Theatre in New York City's Greenwich Village. An interview with avant-garde filmmaker and exhibitor Jonas Mekas then segues into footage of the making of Dirt by filmmaker/poet Piero Heliczer, as a pre-Nico incarnation of the Velvet Underground (with both Maureen Tucker and original percussionist Angus MacLise) plays silently in costume in the background. Other highlights include interviews with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, plus the uninterrupted airing of a Stan Brakhage film in tribute to poet Michael McClure.
In 1968, Agnès Varda was living in Los Angeles with her husband, director Jacques Demy, who was there to begin filming his first Hollywood film, Model Shop (1969). Although initially hesitant about living in the United States, the couple quickly became caught up in the wave of dissent sweeping the country in the late 1960s. Indeed, amid the finger pointing in France about the perceived failure of the events of May ’68 to bring about revolution, many members of the French intelligentsia looked across the Atlantic for alternative models for political change. Varda became part of a growing contingent of French artists and intellectuals, including sociologists Edgar Morin and Jean-François Revel, and writer Jean Genet, who were attracted to the ways in which cultural revolt, social criticism and political contestation were intertwined in the United States. These French thinkers were attracted to the expansiveness and creativity of the American counterculture as opposed to the political deadlock that many believed was the undoing of the events surrounding May ’68. A revolt against American hegemony was taking place within the United States itself, and many leftist French thinkers were enthralled. [more inside]
Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up - a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*via Cinephilia and Beyond. [NSFW - some nudity] [more inside]
What you see here is a prime example of what happens to film that is neglected and improperly stored. This is an original reel from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that is now untouchable. The film has turned acidic, sporting the strongest and most foul vinegar-like odor I have ever smelled. In fact, Robert Harris told me a story of how his contact lenses were singed by the fumes the film produced, causing temporary retinal damage to his eye. [more inside]
The Monkees' Head: 'Our fans couldn't even see it' At the height of their fame, the Monkees teamed up with Jack Nicholson to film the psychedelic classic Head – and destroy their careers in the process. So how do they feel about it now? [more inside]
The World in Pieces. During the early 1960s, Mimmo Rotella (who just died in Milan at age 87) went around Europe collecting strips of advertising posters that had been pasted over and torn away many times. He also tore at posters (warning: big file) himself in a rebellious act of desecration to create the works he called decollages. More inside.