"But, I don't know, somehow, it's just, it's not believable. Looks like very bad actress and a very bad script and horrible movie, just horrible movie, and, you know, I like it. It's alright, you know, if you want to live in her bad movie, it's alright because some people's lives are good movies, some people's lives are bad movies and Penny's life's a very bad movie but don't make me look at it on the screen please."
Hilarious, prescient and wonderfully inventive critique of the farce-become-all-too-real today of oversharing and of (Bazinian) film realism (and therefore of the pre-Passion Godard and of the Kapò-tracking-shot Serge Daney (and Rivette the critic, if not the filmmaker)).
I first saw this in 1969 and took it for real, but when I heard it was staged, my mind was blown - appropriate for the times. I became a LM Kit Carson fan from then on even with his odd remake of Breathless. But THIS - this should be seen by every film student to help stave off bouts of excessive solipsism. Before moc docs became a fad, Holzman's Diary was there. Brilliant and hysterical.
An experimental film I didn't actually hate! Don't get me wrong. There were parts I thought went on for too long and were boring. This was a diary in the truest form. In this movie, the filmmaker's desire is to satisfy himself first before his audience. He definitely does the former, and a little bit of the latter. As an aspiring filmmaker, how can I not like a story about a filmmaker and his obsessions?
It was a nice slice of NY life, well edited but the main guy (as honest as he tried to be and as funny as he was at moments) was too timid or preoccupied with the camera, lacking necessary presence that other characters had. Many nice moments and I really liked the ending.
There are so many things I love about this 1960's artifact! I like watching it in cut-up pieces, or freeze-frame, especially the high-speed-edited TV sequence. The only way to see the individual shots is in that segment is by using freeze-frame, try it! Thanks to Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley for preserving a fine print :)
Cinema verite feature that has been preserved as a document of its time period and as a precursor perhaps to the so-called reality fixation. McBride certainly captures something here not just of the period but of man's quest to capture the truth even when the truth is how empty he may be. The character becomes grating and insufferable and his choices less and less intelligent..but that's the point.
This film is for careful inspection. Not just its shots, edits, acting, but us the viewers, how we react. As an artist, a maker. This is coming from a indelible, brutally honest place. Trials and tribulations, an artist trying to make sense of his material. In the midst of reality and intimate fantasy. This film paints a portrait of the face of the modern man, the delicate line between genius and insanity.
Saw this on 16mm yesterday at a screening in Philadelphia presented by the Film Studies Department at Temple University. Carson heard about the screening about two weeks before and offered to come down and talk about the film. Very interesting Q&A and he showed a clip of his upcoming Sundance Selects series "Africa Diary."