Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
William Greaves, 1968, 75 min
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One is a film that is as complex creatively as the pronunciation of its title. Director William Greaves created a seminal movie-within-a-movie by expanding on the cinema verite style of filmmaking and the using production techniques in both the filming and editing that reflect on the process of filmmaking itself. The film takes place in Central Park where an eccentric director, played by Greaves, has three separate film crews cover the proceedings of making a screen test. It was filmed in 1968 but didn’t premiere publicly until 1991 whereupon it rapidly gained a cult following and reinforced Greaves status as one of the great American documentary filmmakers.
Gaining a cult status from those individuals who were able to view it, the film eventually caught the attention of actor and filmmaker Steve Buscemi, who caught a screening of the docu-drama at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. Seeing the film’s potential, Buscemi worked to secure financing for a sequel and the wide-release of the original film. Eventually, Buscemi and Greaves were joined by the adventurous Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh. Together, the three managed to secure both distribution channels for the film as well as financing for one of Greaves’s sequels.