It now feels oddly appropriate that, on my flight to Copenhagen, I finally watched the recent Criterion Collection version of William Greaves’ Symbiopsychotaxiplasm. The 1968 experimental documentary is often cited as an example of quintessential fiction/nonfiction hybrid, as it chronicles the construction of a relationship drama to be filmed in New York’s Central Park. All the while, the production of this pedestrian narrative is interrupted with the real-life interactions of the inexperienced crew, as well as the unpredictable elements of New York. There are classic moments of direct cinema, blended with adventurous use of split-screen framing and soundtrack. In other words, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm is perhaps one of the best examples of experimental doc filmmaking, and now a bunch of us are in Copenhagen to experience CPH:DOX. This festival is impressive and expansive, and also truly daring in its choices. This is an event where documentary filmmaking becomes “stranger than fiction,” and sometimes the fiction becomes stranger than reality. I’ll report more on some of the fun/strange events planned, but it’s already turning into a bit of Symbiopsychotaxiplasm in Scandinavia.
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