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One P.M.  
Jean-Luc Godard / D.A. Pennebaker
1972 || 90 mins

A Native American rides a wire-cage elevator up above New York,  while loudly mimicking words and phrases from a radical speech about Vietnam played on a tape recorder that he holds in his arms... a political activist discusses the inequalities in American society... a radical black militant discusses French colonial history... an actor dressed as a Confederate soldier provokes a classroom of African-American schoolchildren into a confrontation... a rock band performs on a Manhatten rooftop... this is America 1968 and revolution is in the air...

see also articles on:
Top 10 Godard Movies || Jean-Luc Godard Profile || French New Wave History || French New Wave Film Guide

In 1968, Godard, believing revolution in America was imminent, began work on a film that set out to document the radical spirit at the heart of the radical underground in collaboration with Direct Cinema documentarian’s D.A. Pennebaker and Richard Leacock. The working title was One A.M., as in “one American movie”; but, disatisfied with what he had shot, Godard abandoned the project. Pennebaker later edited Godard’s footage, intercut with his own coverage of Godard at work and renamed the film One P.M. which stood for One Parallel Movie (or One Pennebaker Movie as Godard called it).

Combining cinéma vérité, political theatre and interviews with key sixties radicals such as Tom Hayden and Eldridge Cleaver, as well as ordinary people on the streets, the film offers both a fascinating snapshot of the times and a revealing, and sometimes amusing, insight into Godard’s working methods. “I doubt it was the film Godard had in mind when we started,” wrote Pennebaker many years later, “but then, it seldom works out that way anyway. I found what happened entertaining and filled with surprises. Its some sort of history.”

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