With Viva, Shirley Clarke, James Rado, Jerome Ragni.
France/US, 1968, 35mm, color, 110 min.
Varda spent three years in Los Angeles in the late 1960s with her husband, Jacques Demy, and in addition to filming a pair of documentaries—one about the California uncle she discovered and another on the Black Panthers—made this feature film about sixties’ hippie culture and the political chaos surrounding it. The story, which verges on documentary, concerns an independent filmmaker (played by the doyenne of American independent filmmakers, Shirley Clarke) scrambling to develop a project with Warhol star Viva and Hair authors Rado and Ragni. Freely mixing improvisation, scripted material, and television footage covering events such as the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the shooting of Warhol, the film merges its style with the spirit of the times.