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David Holzman’s Diary

Posted by martinteller on May 13, 2007

This may be the first “mockumentary”.  It’s 1967 New York, and a young man loses his job and learns that he’s been reclassified for the draft.  Inspired by Godard (“Film is truth, 24 times a second”) he decides to record his life on film, certain that it will uncover truths… but things don’t turn out as he hoped.  I might be misreading it, but director Jim McBride seems to be poking fun at the effectiveness of cinema vérité.  He makes a good point, but it’s awfully cynical, and perhaps explains why McBride would go on to do such pedestrian fare like The Big Easy and Great Balls of Fire (and, notably, the ill-received remake of Godard’s Breathless).  It’s an interesting piece, and the documentary style and actors are convincing, and even though it rubbed me the wrong way a little bit, I liked it.  I felt that certain sections were supposed to illustrate how mundane cinema vérité can be, but I liked those parts too.  Rating: 7


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