Vite AND Keeping Busy | Chicago Reader

Vite AND Keeping Busy

Two films from the “Zanzibar collection,” a series of underground films shot in France in the late 60s. Perhaps the most expensive of them all, Daniel Pommereulle's Vite (1969, 37 min.) was shot partly in Morocco and reflects the filmmaker's disgust toward the industrialized nations: it opens with Pommereulle and an Arab boy in a desert, clapping their hands to a Middle Eastern rhythm and spitting epithets like “Enough!” and “Garbage!” at the camera. Images of futility (a pair of feet kicking the sand, one man giving another a piggyback ride around a pool of fetid water) are juxtaposed with telescopic time-lapse shots of the sun and moon ascending. Scored with whistles, rattles, and other berserk sounds, Pommereulle's montage conjures up bracing surrealist poetry, as if Un chien andalou had been updated for the Vietnam generation. Michel Auder shot Keeping Busy (1969, 80 min.) during travels with the jet set in Rome, Morocco, and Malibu; the film emulates the New York avant-garde with its scratchy sound track, sprocket noises, unfocused shots, and portions of underlit or overexposed footage, faithfully recording the ennui-heavy sentiments of Warhol “superstar” Viva and her bedmates Auder and Louis Waldon (who coupled with her on camera in Warhol's Blue Movie). Reportedly a favorite of Cinematheque Francais guru Henri Langlois, this artless, self-indulgent exercise now seems hopelessly dated.

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