Peter Whitehead & the Sixties - (Import DVD)
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Peter Whitehead was at the heart of 1960s London, chronicling the youth explosion, the counterculture and the popular music scene. This double set includes two of his films: 'Wholly Communion' (1965) and 'Benefit of the Doubt' (1967). On 11 June 1965, the Royal Albert Hall played host to a slew of beat poets for an extraordinary impromptu event - the International Poetry Incarnation - which arguably marked the birth of London's gestating counterculture. Cast in the role of historian, Whitehead constructed 'Wholly Communion' from the unfolding circus. As the poets took to the stage, he confidently wandered with his borrowed camera, creating the participatory and anarchic film that launched his career. Following this success, he was invited to film a controversial new play, 'US', by radical theatre director Peter Brook. Building on the question of Britain's relationship to America during the Vietnam War, Whitehead pushed the issue of complicity further, challenging the relationship between the actors and their performances. Steadfast and provocative in its consideration of international relations and war, 'Benefit of the Doubt' has troubling relevance to the current political climate.
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