PopKrazy Store PopKrazy Guide
to Pop
Culture

'60s documentaries

JEAN-LUC GODARD MEETS JEFFERSON AIRPLANE

Late in the pivotal year of 1968, Jean-Luc Godard, then a Marxist-Leninist filmmaker, came to America to make a revolutionary film about the '68 American revolution. With documentary filmmakers Richard Leacock and D. A. Pennebaker, Godard began shooting on locations in and around New York City on a project he called One A.M. ("One American Movie").

But One A.M. was never completed. Eventually, from some of the footage shot, the team of Leacock-Pennebaker put together another film called One P.M. ("One Parallel Movie").

One P.M. included the cast of Godard's One A.M.—Rip Torn, Tom Hayden, Eldridge Cleaver, The Jefferson Airplane, LeRoi Jones, among others. It also showed lots of scenes of Godard directing and Richard Leacock photographing One A.M (along with much footage of a couple of sound girls, some New York policemen,and Godard's wife, Anne Wiazemski.) One P.M. works as the record of the making of a movie, and it may be all that is left of a movie that was not finally made.

It's hard to say why One A.M. was abandoned. Some film scholars say that Godard failed to understand the nature of the movement in America.

DVD cover for Jefferson Airplane Fly Jefferson Airplane

The highlight of the film may be the footage of Jefferson Airplane performing "House at Pooneil Corners" live on the rooftop in Midtown Manhattan on December 7, 1968. Remember, this was shot over a year before the Beatles pulled the same stunt while rehearsing and recording their Let It Be film.

Once again, Godard was intuitively and radically ahead of his times.

[One P.M. is currently available in 10 short clips on YouTube.)