Magical mystery tours
godard and Antonioni in America
Cultural and political turmoil in the United States during the late 1960s attracted the attention of European art filmmakers. Most notably, Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni, independent of one another, traveled across the United States in order to film a society perceived to be on the verge of major change. Between 1967 and 1969, Antonioni produced Zabriskie Point (1970), his notorious critical and commercial disaster depicting romance in the context of post-1968 American countercultural and political dissent. Godard toured the United States twice in 1968: first to meet with students and young filmmakers while publicizing La Chinoise (1967), which Leacock-Pennebaker, Inc. were distributing on college campuses across the country, and then to join forces with his Direct Cinema distributors to produce the aborted 1 A.M./One American Movie (1968), a film designed to depict social change wrought by the black liberation, antiwar, and student movements. Godard further took inspiration from these travels when producing One Plus One (1968) (also known as Sympathy for the Devil after the producer's re-titling), which juxtaposed the Rolling Stones rehearsing "Sympathy for the Devil" with various forms of political theater. The heights of New Left politicking and countercultural activity thus came together under the watchful eyes of two distinctly European sensibilities whose outputs had already made them stars within American cinema circles. Their presence, however, along the peripheries of "the Movement" engendered suspicion, distrust, and ambivalence about their abilities to render the realities of a coming American Revolution on screen.1
Fresko, D. (2014)., Magical mystery tours: godard and Antonioni in America, in T. Scott Brown & A. Lison (eds.), The global sixties in sound and vision, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 43-64.
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