America As Seen By A Frenchman (1960)

Known in France as L’Amérique Insolite, or Unusual America, this film is all about the 18 month journey that Francois Reichenbach, who shot the video for Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot’s “Bonnie and Clyde” as well as parts of F for Fake) took across America.

With a script by Chris Marker and narration by Jean Cocteau and June Richmond (Paul Klinger did the German version), this is a playful look at America before the many changes that the 60’s would bring. From prison rodeos to Miss America, Disneyland to a town of twins, this film captures the eccentric side of America, including a shocking moment where a rider continually pushes a horse to greater heights, diving into a small pool of water. While this image is upsetting, the dialogue juxtaposed with it is uplifting: “The golden age is the only time when magic is called by its proper name. It’s the only time when you need to believe in miracles. When pigeons fly, horses fly. Angels fly. Man flies.”

While this film was released two years before Mondo Cane, make no mistake. It is a mondo film. That said, this is the gentle side of mondo, a movie given to the celebrations of small dogs at play on Fire Island. It’s utterly charming.

This has just been released by Arrow Video with new English subtitles and a 1080p presentation. I totally didn’t expect to fall in love with this film, but I did. You can get it right here.

DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by Arrow Video.

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