William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One Screens at NEIU on 35mm – March 6

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701  W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, March 6 @ 7:30 PM / NEIU
Directed by William Greaves • 1968
Responsible for hundreds of documentaries primarily focused on African-American history and culture, William Greaves is probably best known to contemporary audiences for a trippy, bizarrely titled film about the making of a film about the making of a film that was never intended to be a film. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One finds the Actors Studio-trained Greaves at work in Central Park hauling around a bulky 16mm rig to shoot an absurdly written argument between a couple that will soon be repeated by numerous performers in numerous cadences. Meanwhile, Greaves’s young, bedraggled crew, seemingly left in the dark by the director, begin directly addressing their grievances with the project to another crew filming concurrently. Collapsing boundaries between on- and off-screen action and calling into question the documentary veracity of his own film, Greaves whittled down untold hours of footage collected by the exacerbated women and men working alongside him into a 70-odd-minute avant-garde crowd-pleaser that’s as exuberant as it is confounding. A dormant cult item, Greaves’s would-be landmark languished under the radar for years, playing sporadic one-off screenings before being officially released decades after it was shot and becoming a touchstone for a generation of adventurous cinephiles. (CW)
75 min • Take One Productions • 35mm from Janus Films
Film Stock: Kodak 2383 (2005) Lab: DuArt
Short: “Wealth of a Nation” (William Greaves, 1964) – 21 min – 16mm from National Archives and Records Administration

Check out the rest of the season here!

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