As part of the Los Angeles Filmforum series 1968: Visions of Possibilities, MOCA will screen the Los Angeles 4K restoration premiere of Jean-Luc Godard’s ONE PLUS ONE—part documentary of how the Rolling Stones developed their song “Sympathy for the Devil” at Olympic Studios in London, part 1968 political agitprop by Godard in the wake of the May uprisings.
“Godard had the crew lay down tracking rails that ran in a figure-eight throughout the studio… In ten-minute takes, Godard followed the song’s metamorphosis from a straight-ahead rocker to a pantheistic samba. Drummer Charlie Watts put down his drumsticks in favor of Algerian hand drums, and the four backup singers (including Marianne Faithfull) congregated around a microphone for gospel exhortations.
“The last night of the shoot ended prematurely as the studio caught fire when a gel filter on an overhead light ignited.” — Richard Brody*
Alternating with the studio footage are scenes Godard shot with Anne Wiazemsky playing “Eve Democracy,” who, followed by a documentary crew, responds to elaborate political questions—many of them lifted from a 1968 interview Norman Mailer did with Playboy—with “yes” or “no” answers. “In bringing Wiazemsky to London and casting her as the absurd and naïve Eve Democracy, Godard mocked not only democracy but Wiazemsky’s non-revolutionary commitment to it.”*
ONE PLUS ONE
Thursday, November 8, at 7 pm.
MOCA Grand Avenue
250 South Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.
*Richard Brody, Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008), 338, 340.
Film poster with Jean-Luc Godard’s title. (An alternative cut—titled Sympathy for the Devil by the producers—re-edited the soundtrack of the film’s final scenes.)
The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithful lay down the backing vocal track.
Anne Wiazemsky in her One Plus One final scene.
Godard and Mick Jagger during filming.
The Stones at Olympia Studios.
Image credit: ABKCO Films.