1 A.M. (aka One American Movie) was shot in 1968, abandoned by Godard in 1969, and then later resurrected and re-edited by his collaborator on the film D.A. Pennebaker. Intercut with film footage of Godard at work on the film and re-named 1 P.M. (One Parallel Movie), it was finally released in 1972.
An abstract and maddening mash-up of cinéma vérité, documentary footage and goofy political theater, 1 P.M. is another attempt by a European director to wrap his head around America’s turbulent Sixties’ political scene and pretty much failing. Even with input from ace documentarian Pennebaker, the movie seems remote from its material. But despite many yawn-inducing moments of pretentiousness and arthouse vagueness, there are still plenty of interesting bits and pieces in the film to sustain one’s interest. Specifically, an interview with Eldridge Cleaver, a rambling but fascinating sequence involving Tom Hayden. Rip Torn’s absurd Native American routine and a Manhattan-rooftop performance by Jefferson Airplane of “House at Pooneil Corners,” which ends with the cops busting the band and film crew.