America as Seen by a Frenchman (1960, Francois Reichenbach)

America as seen but not heard – the soundtrack seems like a post-sync invention, with a fun Michel Legrand score (one of his first films, the year before Lola). Reichenbach spent a year and a half in the States, filming everyday scenes (carnivals, prisons and churches) and special events, including a prison rodeo, a festival for identical twins, a hula hoop contest, horse diving and striptease school.

“This man committed two murders. He is in for a hundred years.”

Is this illegal yet?

A cool movie as travelogue, anthropology and time capsule. Chris Marker wrote a full narration, but reportedly this was adapted by Reichenbach, who considered it too harsh, so Marker’s name barely appears in the film’s credits and he published his own version in Commentaires as L’Amerique Reve, film imaginaire (American Dream). No hard feelings, I guess, since Marker and Reichenbach later collaborated on The Sixth Face of the Pentagon. Produced by new-wave kickstarter Pierre Braunberger, with an introductory note by Jean Cocteau.

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