Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2

Director: William Greaves
Screenwriters: William Greaves

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


In the 1960s cauldron of the Vietnam War and the civil rights and feminist movements, filmmaker/actor William Greaves began a brilliant cinematic experiment that examined the power dynamics of narrative filmmaking in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. Thirty years and two wars later, the veteran director has now profoundly advanced this inquiry with Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2, an even more thorough and penetrating examination of race, gender, and the dynamics involved in the filmmaking process.

The ostensible focus of Take 2 1/2is a contentious interracial relationship played by actors filmed both in 1968 and 2003. However, the film is not driven by any one story line as much as it is by the dynamics behind the camera that determine what is seen. It's a power that pinballs from black to white to director to actor to crew to audience. Like a modern-day Greek chorus, the crew comments on the ongoing action. This recursive fabric is taken further when a drama coach attempts to control the scene and the director takes himself out the picture altogether.

Greaves has created a tightly structured cinematic fractal as the gaze of Take 2 1/2 penetrates even its own presentation, including a Q&A session where he is put on the spot after the presentation of Take One. The director himself is the star actor directing his own set, and as you watch, you'll become part of this profound and engrossing experiment yourself.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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