America as Seen by a Frenchman 07/18/20

Arrow Academy

This marvelous proto-documentary is a cultural travelogue, before such films became a conduit to express social outrage or moral condemnation. To the French filmmakers America in 1960 is still a land of wonders, a bigger-than-life fantasyland, where you can visit a places called Fantasyland and Frontierland and see your culture’s past play out as entertainment. It’s like Mondo Cane only in that it’s free-form, taking in whatever the director Fran├žois Reichenbach encountered in 18 months spent wandering through the country with a Techniscope camera in tow. Helping in the journey are Michel Legrand and Chris Marker, with an assist from Frederic Rossif and Jean Cocteau … it’s class goods, a time machine to a lost Golden Age of consumerist, conformist harmony. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.