“The noted French wit Jean-Luc Godard said, ‘What is film? Film is truth 24 times a second.'”
A young filmmaker named David Holzman (L.M. Kit Carson) decides to “figure out his life” by creating a documentary of his everyday actions.
The inherent irony of this early mockumentary — a prescient forerunner of “reality TV”, YouTube, blogs, and all other forms of self-promotion through digital media — is that, in his attempt to lampoon the banality of everyday life, director Jim McBride ultimately creates a movie which is, in a word, boring. While there are some clever cinematic techniques and a few moments of levity (David being hit on by his lusty neighbor; David obsessing over the mysterious girl who lives across the street), ultimately it’s annoying to watch this narcissistic young man try to capture every moment of his humdrum existence on film — and when he films his naked sleeping girlfriend (Eileen Dietz) against her wishes, you’ll want to throttle him! Even at 74 minutes, this innovative yet uninteresting film — more effective in theory than in practice — is too long.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A creative lampoon of “cinema verite”
- An effective depiction of filmmakers as narcissistic voyeurs
- Louise Levine as Holzman’s hilariously lusty, deep-voiced neighbor, “Sandra”
- Some clever cinematic techniques (such as the long, long traveling shot of elderly people sitting on benches in a park)
Yes. While I didn’t personally find David Holzman to be compelling viewing, it’s a cult film with historical importance.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)