Sympathy for the Devil (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Sympathy for the Devil (titled One Plus One in its European release) is a 1968 film shot mostly in color by director Jean-Luc Godard.

Plot summary

The early scences are washed out full-color shots of The Rolling Stones in a sound studio, recording and rerecording various parts to their song, "Sympathy for the Devil." The Rolling Stones portions of the film are generally held of high regard, since "Sympathy for the Devil" is one of their classic songs. The dissolution of Stone Brian Jones is vividly portrayed, and the tragic chaos of 1968 is made clear when a line referring to the killing of (John F.) Kennedy is heard changed to the plural after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in June.

Interwoven through the movie are outdoor shots of Black Panthers (citing LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver) milling about in a junkyard littered with the rusting bodies of American cars heaped upon each other. There are also scenes of Black Panthers tossing their rifles to each other, from man to man, as if in an assembly line, readying for an impending battle.

The rest of the film is riddled with political diatribe in the form of a voiceover about the need for revolution, Marxism, and other topics that Godard took a fancy to. One scene involves a camera crew following a woman about, played by Anne Wiazemsky, in an outdoor wildlife setting. She's dressed in a flowing white gown, but no matter what she is asked, she always answers "yes" or "no." As can be seen from the chapter heading to this scene, she is supposed to be a personification of democracy, a woman named Eve Democracy.

At least one quarter of the film is devoted to indoor shots of a bookstore that sells such diverse items as Marvel's Doctor Strange, DC's The Atom, and The Flash comic books, Marxist pamphlets for propaganda, and various men's magazines. Alternating with the shots of comic books, pinup magazines, and Marxist pamphlets, consumers casually enter the bookstore, approach a bookshelf, pick up books or magazines, exchange them for a sheet of paper, and then slap the faces of two Maoist hostages sitting patiently next to a book display. Toward the end of the scene, a small child is admitted for the purpose of buying a pamphlet and slapping the faces of the hostages. After exchanging their purchases and receiving their document, each customer raises his/her right arm in a Nazi salute, and leaves the store.

Mimicking the earlier scene of the camera crew following Eve Democracy is the last scene to the movie, where the camera crew mills about on the beach, and from afar, one man asks another, "what are they doing over there?" To which the other man answers, "I think they are shooting a movie." A large winch or crane is positioned on the beach, and a woman in white is laid down upon the end of the crane, and elevated on the platform until she is well above the beach. She doesn't rise up, she just remains motionless, half-hanging off the crane, one leg dangling.

Changes for U.S. release

To increase the commercial value of the film, the U.S. release was re-titled Sympathy for the Devil and the end of the film's soundtrack was altered to include a full take of the song in its final form. This angered Godard and caused a dust-up between him and the producer responsible.

During filming of The Rolling Stones' recording, a fire broke out in the sound studio. While footage of the studio on fire was not included on the film, it does exist and has been used in other films.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sympathy for the Devil (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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