Artists are notoriously touchy about two things: how people see them, and how people see their work. Often this prickliness has to do with first impressions. Suitably enough, Direct Cinema, the genre of immediate filmmaking pioneered in the '60s by D.A. Pennebaker, the Maysles Brothers and Richard Leacock, has its revival tonight with the screening of two films by Richard Leacock: A Stravinsky Portrait (1966) and One P.M. (1972). Portrait, which catches composer Igor Stravinsky at home in California toward the end of his life, was the only film that he actually liked of himself. Naturally, the film screened everywhere in the world but America. The second film, One P.M., marked Jean-Luc Godard's collaborative work with Leacock and Pennebaker on 1968's 1 A.M. (One American Movie). Starring Eldridge Cleaver and Grace Slick, the project was abandoned by Godard, leaving Pennebaker and Leacock to reconstruct the footage into something called One P.M. (One Parallel Movie). The result is a fascinating, lively example of direct impression — something that fuels creativity more than people generally think it does.
Mon., Feb. 21, 6 p.m., 2011
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