Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Film Recommendation - Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

An experiment.

It is 1968; director William Greaves and his student crew are in New York's Central Park filming a screen test. The drama involves a bitter break-up between a married couple. But this is just the "cover story." The real story is happening "off" camera as the enigmatic director pursues some hidden agenda, leading to growing conflict and chaos amongst the students, which explodes on screen producing a brilliant kind of raw energy and insight.

This cinema verite film-within-a-film can't be easily defined. But it's one of the most innovative movies about making movies. It generated 1 sequel titled Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2, released 37 years later

Check it out on a 2-disc feature-packed DVD set HERE.

Learn more about William Greaves HERE and be sure to take a look at his other many works, mostly documentaries.

Here's the trailer:


  1. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...

    Why are films about making films so fascinating...? To me, anyway. This has been on my 'to see' list for a while now and, for someone who doesn't usually buy DVDs, I'm wondering if this will be what makes me finally succumb to shelling out some shekels.

    I did think of stealing it from your shelf but you were there telling me what I could and couldn't take (sorry, I mean, borrow :D) and I'm not that good a thief.

    Renting it seems like a long-shot of an option (over here, anyway) so maybe I'll buy it... Or wait until next time I hit NYC...

    And um, I'll try and remember to bring the other films back this time.


  2. albertine said...

    It took me 3 tries before I finally started liking this film. The first time I fell asleep but I should mention that I was tired. The second time I stuck with it the whole way but there was still some uncertainty on my part. The 3rd time I suddenly saw it in a different light and gained a new appreciation for it. This happens to me sometimes. It took me a couple of years to get through 8 1/2. But since then, I've watched it umpteen times, and each time I feel like I could watch it again and again and again.

  3. Qadree said...

    I loved this film the first time I saw it, but the sequel wasn't that impressive, though it did have it's moments.

    What I like most is that he wasn't just filming himself making a film. He really had a purpose in all of the layers he created. The crew deciding to film themselves without his knowledge was something that would never have happened if Greaves didn't set out from the beginning to create an atmosphere that would induce rebellion. The fact that he was even thinking on that level is amazing, he was way ahead of his time.

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