Writer, director and producer William Greaves’ wildly inventive film is at once a documentary, a documentary about a documentary, and a documentary about the making of a documentary about a documentary. Made in cinéma vérité style, this complex and compelling film takes place in the Central Park, New York City and follows Greaves himself as the director of the fictional, actor-based documentary Over the Cliff, utilizing three different film crews to cover different aspects of the overall production.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm was shot in 1968 and completed in 1971. At the time, it was screened for small audiences at film festivals and museum screenings, achieving cult status, before being released to wider audiences in the early 2000s.
William Greaves (1926–2014) was a pioneering African-American filmmaker who began his career as an actor on Broadway and went on to write and direct more than one hundred documentary films. His features include Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968), Ali, the Fighter (1974) and Marijuana Affair (1975). He was a recipient of many awards for film and television, including an Emmy. From 1969 to 1982, he taught acting for film and television at the Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, Dir. William Greaves, USA, 1968, 16mm transferred to HD video, 75 mins