This documentary presents clips from black films from 1929 through 1957. Musical performers include Paul Robeson (in Song of Freedom), Bessie Smith (St. Louis Blues), Eubie Blake and the ... See full summary »
G. William Jones
In Central Park, 1968, a director shot scenes of a young couple whose marriage was falling apart - 35 years later they are back in Central Park as the director relentlessly pursues the ever-elusive symbiopsychotaxiplasmic moment.
A comedy-drama about a Black American female philosophy professor and her insensitive, philandering, and flamboyant artist husband who are having a marital crisis. When the wife goes off on... See full summary »
After the events of May 1968, the French went on vacations - and they were filmed during three months on the rural fairs, on the beaches, on promotional campaigns for products and ... See full summary »
This is the story of the historic 1938 flight of Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan. Mr. Corrigan starred in this film, which chronicled his infamous flight. On July 17, 1938, Mr. Corrigan loaded... See full summary »
Filmmaker William Greaves is shooting a series of screen tests in New York City's Central Park for the two leads of a feature length movie, with the working title of "Over the Cliff". Simultaneously, he has a documentary filmmaking crew filming the behind the scenes making of the movie. In addition to seeing these two sets of footage (the film and the film of the film), the viewer also sees footage of a third film crew filming the these two in relation to what is happening overall as they film in the park while real life goes on around them, which in Bill's mind is part of the realism of the movie. "Over the Cliff" itself has no plot and no full script but only a working concept of sexuality being the movie's theme and snippets of scripted dialogue. This unstructured approach is to give the movie a sense of realism. The actors imply as much, but many of the crew, discussing in Grieves-less bullpen sessions, believe Greaves is unfocused and inept at what he is doing, while a minority ... Written by
After my first viewing: Total shock! Upon some reflection, I didn't feel I was ready to write a review, so I watched the Special Features segment on William Greaves (At 1 hour, almost as long as the film) and then watched SYMBIO again. Here's the comment I was going to use after viewing once: "Is it an extremely original concept in film-making? Yes, undoubtedly! Is it enjoyable and watchable? For me, at least, the answer to that is 'Not so much' 7*"
Just how stupid am I, anyway? (Rhetorical question, that!) Here I am, nearly 66 years old, yet it wasn't till yesterday that I became aware of William Greaves! Can't remember the last time I could look anyone and everyone in the eye and say the words, with soulful and unabashed conviction: "GENIUS! Pure, Unadulterated GENIUS!"
Sitting here at my computer, focusing on authoring this review, the SYMBIO-experience has inspired me to an extent unparalleled by any other film in recent years. My job now: Articulate this in a way that, in turn, will inspire you to watch and perhaps produce a review of your own. Here, perhaps the most challenging aspect of review-writing is to avoid anything resembling a spoiler. Don't read the Blurbs. One definitely contains a spoiler, which could easily deprive you of the joy of "Getting It" all on your own!
The two things which stand out most in retrospect? First, the sheer simplicity of the applied concept itself is truly inspirational, in and of itself. Second, that it took a 1/4 of a century, after the fact, for Mr. Greaves to get a decent screening and begin to get some of the recognition he so sorely deserved for this cinematic milestone.
Couldn't help but notice that SYMBIO-was shot in August 1968, just a few months after the release of Stanley Kubrick's 2001. What do both films have in common? Well, thematically, not much, really. But it's hard to imagine someone like Greaves not having seen it soon after its release, so...Who knows? We could always ask him! 10*.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
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