Tonight, the local filmmaker Laura Hanna will be on hand at Williamsburg’s 22-seat, curved-screen DIY-cinema-in-a-former-bodega The Spectacle Theater, introducing a rare screening of The Fall, by the British filmmaker Peter Whitehead, known for his immersive documentaries of various Beat happenings. Whitehead was “as much scene-maker as filmmaker,” J. Hoberman wrote three years ago on the occasion of Anthology’s nearly comprehensive Whitehead retro: having come to New York to screen his Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London at the New York Film Festival in 1967, he stuck around the city with his American girlfriend, and filmed his own eye’s view of the antiwar and Feminist movements, the unrest after the assassination of MLK, and the Columbia sit-in, which he joined.
Anthology’s catalog described the film thusly:
Considered by Whitehead to be his most important film, THE FALL is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking, an extremely personal statement on violence, revolution and the turbulence within late-60s America. Filmed entirely in and around New York between October 1967 and June 1968, it features Robert Kennedy, The Bread and Puppet Theater, Paul Auster (fresh-faced as a Columbia student), Tom Hayden, Mark Rudd, Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Arthur Miller, Robert Lowell, Robert Rauschenberg and The Deconstructivists. Richard Roud, co-director of the New York Film Festival, wrote of the film, “…an attempt to come to grips with today, both in terms of its content as well as of its form…”