“If the five sides of the pentagon appear impregnable, attack the sixth side.” —Zen proverb
On October 21, 1967, over 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. It was the largest protest gathering yet, and it brought together a wide cross-section of liberals, radicals, hippies, and Yippies. Che Guevara had been killed in Bolivia only two weeks previously, and, for many, it was the transition from simply marching against the war, to taking direct action to try to stop the ‘American war machine.’
Norman Mailer wrote about the events in Armies of the Night. French filmmaker Chris Marker, leading a team of filmmakers, was also there, and made The Sixth Side of the Pentagon.
From young men burning their draft cards, to the Yippies chanting “Out, demons, out!” while trying to levitate the Pentagon, to thousands of protestors rushing the steps of the Pentagon itself and some actually getting into the building, The Sixth Side of the Pentagon, by contemporaneously putting us in the midst of the action yet combining the experience with a wry and reflective commentary, is a remarkable time capsule and reminder of events from forty years ago, 1967-the turning point of opposition to a long and unpopular war.
“I write to you from a far-off country…”
Information regarding the early life of Chris Marker, photographer, filmmaker, videographer, poet, journalist, multimedia/installation artist, designer, and world traveler, is scarce and conflicting. The year to which his movies, videos, and multimedia projects are dated depends on which source you use, and in which country you live. Personal data is in a state of complete disarray: Derek Malcolm, writing about ¡Cuba Sí! (1961) for The Guardian, reports that Marker was born in Mongolia, of aristocratic descent. Geoff Andrew of Time Out London isn’t sure (Andrew, 146), and most sources, along with the Internet Movie Database, use the location I’ve listed above as his place of birth. Some say his father was an American soldier, others that he (Marker) was a paratrooper in the Second World War. Still others, that he comes to us from an alien planet. Or the future. Throughout his career, he has rarely been interviewed, and even more rarely… read more
Before becoming a filmmaker, Francois Reichenbach (3rd July, 1921 – 2nd February 1993) was an accomplished songwriter who composed songs for performers such as Edith Piaf. Encouraged by his cousin, the producer Pierre Braunberger, he turned to directing, becoming a prolific documentary-maker and leader of the cinéma vérité movement. His documentaries, which often focused on aspects of American life, are notable for their sharp observations and sense of humour. Among his best-known films are L’Amérique insolite (America As Seen by a Frenchman, 1960), the Oscar-winning Arthur Rubinstein: L’Amour de la Vie (Arthur Rubinstein: Love of Life, 1970), and F for Fake (1973) which he co-directed with Orson Welles. —newwavefilm.com