True/False Review: ‘David Holzman’s Diary’

Sunday, March 3-

Appearing to be a documentary-style recorded account of the main character’s life, “David Holzman’s Diary” (1967) urges the audience to contemplate cinema’s role as a fabricator and as a truthful reflector. Directed by Jim McBride, the film concluded the Neither/Nor series at the 2013 True/False Film Festival, which focuses on films from different eras that can’t be classified as documentaries or fiction.

David, magnificently played by L.M. Kit Carson, is a filmmaker who was recently fired from his job. He decides to make a film-diary, which mainly consists of him shooting his surroundings and blabbing to the camera about his ideas and aspirations. On a few occasions we accompany him as he secretly films into his neighbor’s apartment, a sequence that may remind movie buffs of “Rear Window.”

We meet his girlfriend who clearly despises the camera’s presence, and his friend Pepe, a delightful performance from Lorenzo Mans, who lectures about how filming something extinguishes its reality. His admonishment, along with analyzing David’s footage of himself, creates a lot of discussion for the audience.

Do movies and other forms of media bring us closer to the truth and to ourselves, or are they merely projections of the truth and us? Can self-reflections ever be truthful and objective?

While there’s not much to the plot, “David Holzman’s Diary” is significant because it seems to have laid the foundation for the movement of first-person cinema seen frequently today. Everything from YouTube monologues to documentary-style fictions such as “Project X,” “The Blair Witch Project,” and “Borat” can relate back to McBride’s revolutionary film that was truly ahead of its time.


-Hannah Saulic

Staff Writer

The Prowl