Jean-Luc Godard b. 1930
ONE P.M. (1968; 1972)
Duration: 77 minutes
“We gotta hurry. The revolution is going to happen and we’re going to miss it.” — Jean-Luc Godard, anticipating political upheaval in the U.S.
Lighter and livelier than the films Jean-Luc Godard had made in France, his U.S. collaboration with Direct Cinema documentarian D. A. Pennebaker was meant to be One A.M., as in “one American movie”; but Godard quit the project and the U.S., where to his dismay he discovered that revolution wasn’t imminent, and Pennebaker edited Godard’s material, to which he and Richard Leacock even added a bit more, releasing the result as One P.M., as in “one parallel movie.” It’s a stunning mixture of cinéma-vérité, political theater, and interviews of key sixties figures (Eldridge Cleaver, Tom Hayden).
Black Panther and Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Cleaver, who insisted on being paid so he could skip the country, where he was under indictment for murder, is brilliant discussing parallels between U.S. oppression of black citizens and France’s colonization of Algeria, which had ended earlier in the decade. (It was to independent Algeria that Cleaver fled.) One of the points of analogy is economic exploitation.
Rip Torn assumes various guises confronting woods (Nature) or various urban residents with whatever a particular role of his represents. In a remarkable passage, dressed in the uniform of a Confederate officer, he enters a high school classroom largely populated by African-American youngsters. (Godard and crew also are in visible attendance.) Although the kids are outspoken about U.S. inequities, Torn’s garb doesn’t generate a rise. Torn chides the class, inviting the kids not to be so complacent the next time. When minutes later he re-enters dressed in another (ob)noxious outfit, the class mock-kills him. His death-tumble recalls Jean-Pierre Léaud’s in Godard’s Made in U.S.A. (1967). -- grunes. wordpress. com
Director Jean-Luc Godard, D.A. Pennebaker
Producer Jean-Luc Godard, D.A. Pennebaker
Screenplay Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker
Cinematographer Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker
Editor D.A. Pennebaker
Rip Torn himself
Eldridge Cleaver himself
Jean-Luc Godard himself
Tom Hayden himself
Mary Lampson herself