A fake film you've never heard of - David Holzman's Diary

Girlfriend Penny does not like being filmed naked.

David Holzman's Diary, a 74-minute mockumentary made in 1967, is one of the first of its kind, and is highly relevant in our age of YouTube videos. I know a little bit about avant-garde films, but I'd never heard of this one.

It stars David Holzman in his own life, a life as filmed by a young self-focused New York filmmaker named David Holzman, or should I say, life as if David Holzman filmed his own life, since all the scenes were structured improvisations done by actors. David Holzman was played by actor L.M. Kit Carson and the film was directed by Jim McBride. The whole thing was fake cinema as real.

The film's in pieces on YouTube at workroomfilms channel>>

The beginning of David Holzman's Diary



David films his naked girlfriend Penny while she's sleeping



From a 1973 review in The New York Times by Nora Sayre:
"Life as a work of art"—at least once a decade that ancient concept seduces some members of yet another generation, and inspires them to hash up their lives in the name of truth or beauty. Jim McBride's "David Holzman's Diary," a totally delightful satire on "the blubber about cinéma vérité," mocks those ghastly reels from the nineteen-sixties, when various film makers immortalized themselves or their friends by trying and failing to be spontaneous. "Diary"... derides directors who scorned imagination or invention while worshiping the camera...

Holzman, an earnest young Godard-hound, decides to film his life in order to understand it—and only succeeds in ruining it. As a voyeur, a gentle intruder into other people's lives, he can't understand that the filming makes his subjects feel self-conscious, or that "reality" is altered by the presence of his camera and his tape recorder and his lavalier mike, which he calls his "friends."
David Holzman's Diary (1968) David Holzman Diary' Spoofs Cinema Verite, The New York Times>>

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