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Sympathy for the Devil (1968)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,988 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 29 critic

Godard's documentation of late 1960's western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Lynch ...
Commentary (voice)
...
Himself - The Rolling Stones
Brian Jones ...
Himself - The Rolling Stones
...
Himself - The Rolling Stones (as Keith Richard)
...
Himself - The Rolling Stones
...
Himself - The Rolling Stones
...
Eve Democracy
Iain Quarrier ...
Fascist porno book seller
Frankie Dymon ...
Black power militant (as Frankie Dymon Jnr.)
Danny Daniels ...
Black power militant
Illario Pedro
Roy Stewart ...
Black power militant
Linbert Spencer
Tommy Ansah ...
(as Tommy Ansar)
Michael McKay
Edit

Storyline

Godard's documentation of late 1960's western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of the media, the mediated image, A growing technocratic society, Womens Liberation, the May revolt in France and the power of language. Cutting between 3 major scenes, including the Rolling Stones in the studio, the film is visually intercut with Eve Democracy (Wiazemsky) using graffiti which amalgamates organisations, corporations and ideologies. Godard also examines the role of the revolutionary within western culture. Although he believes western culture needs to be destroyed, it can only be done so by the rejection of intellectualisation. "There is only one way to be an intellectual revolutionary, and that is to give up being an intellectual" Written by <gary.elshaw@vuw.ac.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

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Details

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Release Date:

22 April 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

One Plus One  »

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Luc Godard:  Bringing drinks and cigarettes to The Rolling Stones near the end of the film. See more »

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User Reviews

Cynical, satirical collage of rock documentary and political commentary
23 January 2003 | by (Lisbon) – See all my reviews

One of Nouvelle Vague iconoclast Jean-Luc Godard's most engaging oddities, part music documentary of the Rolling Stones rehearsing and recording "Sympathy for the Devil", part a collage of sketches on modern-day revolution and the struggle of the minorities for freedom, punctuated by a number of double-entendre title cards. Generally ranged alongside Godard's political work of the late sixties, it's in fact a cynical and very twisted meditation on the politics of minorities, since the director equates women's lib, communism, fascism and the Black Panthers' radicalism at the same level, all while the Stones find a way to tell the Devil's take on the history of civilization. Mostly, it's questioning what real impact can theoretical concepts of revolution have in a world where language obscures as much as it shares, as is acutely pointed out in the Black Panther's interview where, once asked how are they going to communicate their aspirations to the white man, the black revolutionary replies he has no idea since black men and white men don't really speak the same language. Is music, then, the universal language that everyone speaks? Godard says nothing. He prefers to film, in very long and beautifully executed tracking one-takes, either the Stones rehearsing in a candid manner, or the various revolutionaries spouting their ideals out loud, while a cynical voiceover reads excerpts of pulp novels with the names replaced by those of post-war politicians. It is, in fact, "one plus one": one half rock documentary of interest to Stones fans, one half political satire and commentary. The beauty lies in mixing them together, but I'll admit that only a hardcore Godard fan can enjoy and make sense of the combination.


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Voiceover bingham_bryant
one of godard's more accessible films teejay6682
James Fox...? nickrogers1969
He’s Lost Control latinovator
soundtrack..? nickrogers1969
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