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DAVID HOLZMAN’S DIARY (director/writer: Jim McBride; screenwriter: L. M. Kit Carson; cinematographer: Michael Wadleigh; editor: Jim McBride; cast: L. M. Kit Carson (David Holzman), Lorenzo Mans (Pepe), Eileen Dietz (Penny Wohl), Louise Levine (Sandra), Michael Levine (Sandra’s boyfriend), Bob Lesser (Max), Jack Baran (Cop); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jim McBride; New Yorker Films; 1967)
“Amusing cinéma vérité faux documentary.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The 26-year-old Underground filmmaker Jim McBride (“Uncovered”/”The Informant“/”Great Balls of Fire!“), in his debut film, helms this amusing cinéma vérité faux documentary in black-and-white, with a hand-held camera. It follows Godard’s saying that the truth is24 fps. Thereby on July 14, 1967, during the Newark riots, the Israeli-Egyptian cease-fire and the build-up of the Vietnam War, the 27-year-old David Holzman (L. M. Kit Carson), an aspiring filmmaker and owner of an Eclair camera, decides to make a diary of his life to find out the truth about himself. Recently, David was fired and received a notice from his Draft Board that he’s 1A. The Manhattan resident, living on West 71st Street, begins his home-movie by filming his neighborhood in detail and showing a home visit from his fashion model girlfriend Penny (Eileen Dietz). She objects to being filmed and splits, eventually breaking up with him. David goes on to interview a friend (Lorenzo Mans), who comments that the breakup looks like a bad movie. David goes voyeur again and spies on the woman who lives across the street from him, then interviews a sex-hungry lady sitting in a car in the middle of traffic, follows a pretty young girl from the subway to the street until she tells him to get lost and ends the film by saying his pad was robbed and his camera equipment was taken (which actually meant McBride’s funds of $2,500 ran out).

It takes funny jabs at ‘personal cinema’ and their seriousness, and clues us in that advancing technology will not necessarily let us know ourselves any better and just because something is on film doesn’t make it important. Behind the camera is Michael Wadleigh, who later helped organize that historic Woodstock concert.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”