Jim McBride presents: David Holzman's Diary (1967) + My Girlfriend's Wedding (1970, new 16mm print!)
Director Jim McBride joins us in person for a double-feature of his wildly influential and prescient 1960s works of first-person cinema.
Aug 13, 2023, 7:00 PM
2220 Arts + Archives, 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA
An evening with Jim McBride: David Holzman’s Diary (1967) + My Girlfriend’s Wedding (1970)
L.A. premiere of a new 16mm print of My Girlfriend's Wedding, restored and preserved by Anthology Film Archives, with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Followed by a conversation with Jim McBride. A single ticket provides admission to both features.
Well before the internet made a social contract of documenting (and homogenizing) every waking moment of our lives, filmmakers of the 1960s and ‘70s began to explore and lampoon the veracity of self-documentation. American independent filmmaker Jim McBride’s debut feature, David Holzman’s Diary (1967) was among the first “mockumentaries” and a progenitor of narcissistic first-person cinema that arrived in the following decades, but also a snapshot of a youth generation coming to terms with a burgeoning counterculture. McBride’s lesser-known yet equally fascinating follow-up, My Girlfriend’s Wedding (1970), in some ways indulges the uncomfortably revealing self-analysis that Holzman parodies, but brings us back to real life—taking an intimate dive into more of the anxieties, issues and limitations around subjective filmmaking.
With the recent, deserved reappraisal of his audacious remake of Breathless (1983), we are excited to bring new attention to McBride’s early films, including a brand-new 16mm print of My Girlfriend’s Wedding courtesy of Anthology Film Archives.
"My Girlfriend's Wedding was, in 2009, a film in urgent need of preservation, surviving only in the form of McBride’s own vintage 16mm print. In 2017, Anthology located the lost 16mm camera original and restored the film with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation, resulting in the first new prints produced since the film was released in 1969."
- Anthology Film Archives
David Holzman's Diary
directed by Jim McBride
1967, 74m, U.S., DCP
Among the most influential American independent films of the 1960s, McBride’s faux cinema-verité satire only seems more prescient as time goes on. The titular filmmaker (played by L.M. Kit Carson, future Paris Texas scribe), a newly unemployed cinephile living in a West 71st Street walk-up, delivers a series of comic-neurotic monologues to his 16mm camera, much to the detriment of his relationship and friendships. Made for less than $3000 over a 5-day shoot and lensed by Michael Wadleigh (Woodstock), the film was reportedly booed at the 1968 San Francisco Film Festival when the end credits revealed it to be fiction, but remains a meticulously crafted, boundary-blurring meditation on cinema and reality.
“When I first got my 8mm sound camera, I'd carry it around like David Holzman and try to film everything I did and look at it. My friends and I had cameras all the time and we were all film directors. I filmed a whole section of my life—people I was going out with, my friends. I just shot everything. I directed the scenes, too. And it all came from David Holzman's Diary.”
-Brian De Palma
"Under its sardonic and self-mocking humor, desperately urgent and entirely authentic." -Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"Holzman’s a classic character, a sympathetic-if-pathetic study in generational solipsism, delivering imported French lyricism in clunky flatlands American—miscast by himself in his own life. Diary‘s rug-pull 'documentary' serves to second-guess Holzman/McBride’s contemporaries and inspirations, 'noted French wit' J.-L. Godard’s 'truth at 24 frames per second,' the vérité of cinema vérité." -Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
My Girlfriend's Wedding
directed by Jim McBride
1970, 60m, U.S., 16mm
L.A. premiere of a new 16mm print restored and preserved by Anthology Film Archives, with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
McBride continued his self-reflexive film project, but this time for real, turning the camera on his then-girlfriend, Clarissa Dalrymple, a British woman who he lived with in the East Village. A highly candid, charismatic presence, the film takes place on the day Clarissa gets married to another man, whom she just met—in part because her U.S. visa has expired, and McBride’s divorce wasn’t yet finalized. Originally envisioned as a short to accompany Holzman, the film is a fascinating documentary of waning American countercultural mores, while always foregrounding the subjective nature of the filmmaking process.
Special thanks to Caitlin Forst, John Klacsmann (Anthology Film Archives), George Schmalz (Kino Lorber) and Jameson West.
“At the time I made it, I was fond of referring to it as a fiction film, because it was very much my personal idea of what Clarissa was like, and not at all an objective or truthful view.” – Jim McBride
“A counterculture love story cum screwball comedy…My Girlfriend’s Wedding often seems to satirize McBride’s original satire, as when, interviewing Clarissa, he directs her to hold up a mirror, thus revealing the camera that is recording her. The difference between the two movies is that, unlike David Holzman’s girlfriend, who was alienated by the filming process, Clarissa is cheerfully complicit in her objectification.” - J. Hoberman, The New York Times
"A home-movie study in bohemian fecklessness." -Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
“McBride’s rarely screened follow-up to David Holzman's Diary is a stunning example of unflinchingly direct cinema that offers a fascinating response to the questions of authenticity and performance so masterfully raised by the earlier film. A candid and boldly spontaneous portrait of a willful young British expatriate in the twilight of her twenties and on the eve of marriage to a New York ‘yippie’ she has only known for one week, My Girlfriend's Wedding gradually expands to partially reveal, but never explain, the intimacy between director and subject explicit in the film’s title.” –Harvard Film Archive